For seven years, Andrew Moisey, a professor of art history at Cornell University, had photographed the testosterone-fueled culture surrounding fraternities in the United States. These pictures, made during the 2000s at an unnamed Greek letter organization at the University of California, Berkeley, capture an intimate, and at times disturbing, look at the environment that shapes many of tomorrow’s leaders.
The American Fraternity: An Illustrated Ritual Manual, published by Daylight Books, compiles this work within the context of US history by drawing parallels between the young men in Moisey’s pictures and the people who have helped shape the United States of America — for better or for worse. According to the book’s Indiegogo page, “Seventy-five percent of modern US presidents, senators, justices, and executives have taken arcane oaths of chivalry and allegiance” — a sobering statistic given the nature of Moisey’s photographs.
Here, Moisey writes for BuzzFeed News on his motivations behind the book and shares with us a selection of his pictures in the manner he intends them to be shown — without context and accompanied by actual pages from the publication.