Photographer Anthony Karen’s use of the word sir in emails might stem from his service in the Marine Corps. It could also be indicative of his humanitarian side and his affiliations with charities including Friends in Deed, Smile Train, and the Humane Society.
That simple level of politeness is also a small window into how he has been able to document as a photojournalist many of the most feared, secretive, and marginalized pockets of society around the world.
On his website, Karen writes that his passion for photography began during a trip to Haiti, where he documented Vodou rituals around the country. From there he has created series about Skinheads, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the Ku Klux Klan.
Gaining access to secretive pockets of society is based upon trust, something Karen doesn’t take lightly and that he sees as a foundation of photojournalism. “It’s a moment that’s constantly validated, the wordless acceptance into someone’s personal space with a camera,” Karen wrote via email.