20/04/2012 08:10 BST | Updated 25/04/2012 06:37 BST

Andrew Shaylor's Hell's Angels Portraits Reveal Softer Side To Biker Gang

Have you ever got up close and looked into the eyes of a Hell’s Angel biker? No? Never? Us neither. We’d be a little intimidated by all the tattoos, chains and roars of the Harley Davidsons. And trying to thrust a camera in their faces is probably not best advised either.

The members-only outfit have remained closed to outsiders since forming in the 1940’s, but one outsider got in, and got close.

London-based Andrew Shaylor, who has been involved in photography for 20 years, spent four of them with the UK arm of the motorcycle club, getting a rare glimpse into their commonly misunderstood world.

His collection of striking, sincere, black and white portraits and shots of the gang interacting, show a much softer side to what is often thought to be a rather hard-man collective.

“Once the HAMC agreed to 'let me in' they were extremely co-operative in general,” he said.

“Right from the start, it was important to remain professional and to show a dedication and spirit in what I was doing. If I pretended to be anything other than myself, they would have spotted it. By communicating this and being around them, showing them the work as it grew helped to make the project real and honest.”

So there were no scary moments? “Well not really,” he said. “I don't think it's worth worrying or thinking about something that you would have no control over. As I learnt, if I show them respect, I get it back.”

The project took place in the early 2000’s, with a book featuring over 300 images of the bikers published in 2004. Andrew has since been specialising in landscapes, travel and automotive photography, as well as portraits.

“At present I am in the middle of shooting portraits for the commemorative programme for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics,” he said.

Check out Shaylor's pictures in the gallery below: