Chain smoking indoors, flashy attire, extravagant ceremonies, and not so extravagant living quarters is what photographer Peter van Agtmael captured during his time hanging out with members of the KKK.
Although I am Native American Indian and obviously oppose the group and what they stand for, the mystification of the culture is similar to that of my own. You hear about the KKK here and there but we don't notice their presence unless someone is hurt or killed by a member. I place great value on photographing everything, the good bad, ugly, dangerous, and controversial for the public to see and learn from. We often can't rely on mainstream media to visually take us to these places on the outskirts of society. Like my Native culture, no one sees us until photographers choose to go there.
Following the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, I was curious to see the lives of the hate group beyond the violence we watched a few weeks ago. Although the group has been in headlines since the attacks in Virginia, there is little to be found on the lives they live when they aren't out rallying for their beliefs. While their crimes are popular on the news, I think it's important these images by Peter van Agtmael during his time spent with members in their private lives are seen.
[via The Washington Post]