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The Anonymous Photographer Shooting Unseen London and New York

AboveGround documents graffiti and hip hop culture in London and New York through analog photographs.

Known only by his online pseudonym, filmmaker and photographer AboveGround documents hip hop and graffiti culture in London and New York. His candid 35mm shots effortlessly capture the world around him, from dimly lit subway tunnels to cityscape rooftop views. It’s a style of gritty glamor that plays off the unplanned nature of working with analog film.

Throughout his portfolio, AboveGround showcases a knack for capturing facial expressions. Somehow it’s his most obviously posed portraits that feel the most honest. There’s often a real sense of vulnerability that emerges from behind the crossed arms or cigarette smoke of his subjects, a visible desire to be seen the way that they want to be seen.

“I’m all over the place. I shoot wherever the circumstances put me,” AboveGround says. “London is home for now, and that’s where I took most of my photographs. But I travel on the regular because of my ongoing video work. When things start to get monotonous I just jump on a flight and go somewhere new.”

Although he’s lately been shooting with a Contax G1, AboveGround took most of these photos on an Olympus mju ii and Leica mini ii. “I used to steal film but I got banned from Boots,” he said. “So nowadays, I just buy my favourite Kodak Ektar 100, or any expired film. I like to experiment. I also had a digital camera, but I sold it so I can pay my rent. I had a Canon 6D. I don’t miss it though.”

Find more of AboveGround’s photography on his online portfolio, built using Format.

More 35mm galleries:
20 Photographs of Mongolia’s New Skate Scene
The Most Innovative Photographers Working in Black & White
Jason Lee’s Photography of a Dust-Covered America

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