Are There Neo-Nazis in Greenpoint? Adam Krause Photos Resurface Two Years Later
On Thursday, November 7, Slate published a provocatively titled series of photos, "Life as a Nazi Skinhead in Brooklyn." The seven hauntingly beautiful portraits of neo-Nazi skinheads who ostensibly live in Greenpoint were taken by Adam Krause.
In an email interview with Slate's Jordan G. Teicher, Krause explains that he met his subjects at a gym and struck up an acquaintance, hoping to gain their trust, after he recognized the logo of a racist band on one of their T-shirts.
Strangely, Teicher's post does not mention two central facts:
1) That Krause's photos were originally posted online nearly two years ago, and
2) That Krause deleted them from his website soon after, when reporters -- including one from the Village Voice -- began questioning whether Nazi skinhead culture was really alive and kicking in Greenpoint.
Gawker was the first to call attention to Krause and his photos. On February 27, 2012, Danny Gold published a brief post titled "The Neo-Nazis of Hipster Brooklyn," which reproduced Krause's portrait of a young skinhead clad in a black T-shirt with a black bandanna tied around the lower half of his face, seated in front of a backdrop of swastika-emblazoned flags. Noting that Krause was "full disclosure ... a friend," Gold outlined how the artist encountered the subjects of his portraits at a Greenpoint gym: "He soon gained their trust and shot photos of the group."
But, concluded Gold: "[B]efore forming up the JDL of Williamsburg I think we shouldn't get too worried. As a mutual friend pointed out when Krause first showed us the photos, it seems this is more a group of angry young men who are confusing Polish nationalism with anti-Semitism than any sort of active organization that poses a threat."
That didn't stop the Daily Mail from picking up the story the following day, briefly quoting Krause and reproducing all seven of his portraits -- the same seven that would appear 22 months later in Slate.
The following day, Alexander Nazaryan published a post on the New York Daily News book blog, calling into question whether the portraits were the real deal. The Voice asked the same question shortly after; at some point in the interim, Krause scrubbed the photos from his website.
In their place, the photographer inserted a link to a Curb Your Enthusiasm clip about skinheads and a short statement: "While I appreciate the attention this story is receiving, the media exposure it is getting is making me a bit uncomfortable. In the meantime, I feel this video answers a lot of questions that we are all asking."
Now, Krause and his portraits are back.