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10 December 2015

The London Vagabond: Masked Up Portrait Series

If you haven't yet seen the works of 'The London Vagabond', aka Kieron Cummings, self taught documentary photographer, then you are missing a good insight into some of life's subcultures and dark places, places you might not get the chance to experience and people you wouldn't normally meet.

He documents life as he see's it, always learning along the way, forever seeking beauty in the darkest of corners and craving the next spontaneous decision. His work is heavily focused on street portraiture and tends to focus on characters that are of some interest to him, whether it be the persons, scars, tattoos or the way they carry themselves.

In his latest series, titled 'Masked Up', he creates a photo set that hides the identities of graffiti writers and photographs them on a plain backdrop, giving the images a clean and sharp aesthetic. We had a chat with Kieron, a graffiti writer himself, to get a better look at the series and the reasons behind it.

"The photo series started out with me wanting to photograph all of my friends that are writers with their faces covered. I guess the idea came from realising the I have spent a lot of time with these people without seeing their faces but still knowing who is behind each mask. Being anonymous is a big part of graffiti and thats what this whole series is about.

Behind each balaclava, t-shirt or even a pair of boxers fashioned into a face cover, there is a prolific name. This series is slightly different in the sense that in each portrait, the person keeps their anonymity; they get to hide their face and unless you know who's who you won't necessarily know the name.

I wanted to break away from typical photos of writers being in the hardest spots to get to and the most dangerous. Each portrait is shot with a plain background so the focus is purely on who's identity is hidden behind the face cover they have chosen.

At the moment the series is still in its infant stages but it will be further developed into a wider series and the plan is to document a lot more writers from up and down the country, including old heads that have been significant in the game and writers that are still keeping old school traditions alive today. As the series grows, I hope to eventually produce some sort of publication of the work."

To check out the full photo-set go here and make sure you check out the rest of Kieron's portfolio here 

All images are the copyright of Kieron Cummings.