“Bringing a Message of Hope and Deliverance to White Christian America! A Message of Love NOT Hate!” These words are the first, one sees after going on the Ku Klux Klan’s, website. But the Klan’s name has always been synonymous with hatred and white supremacy sentiments, antisemitism, racism and hatred against blacks.
Anthony Karene, a former Marine and self-taught photojournalist was granted access to the innermost sanctum of the Klan. He was considered trustworthy enough to be invited into their homes and allowed to photograph their most secretive ceremonies, such as the infamous cross burning.
As how he was able to gain the Klan’s trust he explains: “I think a lot of the credibility I’ve earned stems from my basic philosophy that you need to give some of yourself in order to receive anything back. I spend time with people, I listen to what they have to say, and I treat each person as an individual. I don’t have to believe what they believe, but whenever I’m in someone’s space, I feel I’m obliged to observe without judgment. That’s not to say I wouldn’t intervene if I felt a situation called for it, but I choose to observe moment to moment and simply take in what I see and experience without presumption or pretext.” He also explains that he isn’t in a rush once he begins a project and is always looking to go deeper into a story while attempting to maintain a level of neutrality. “I find I challenge myself more and always strive to go even deeper.”