"The tattoo attracts and also repels precisely because it is different." -Margo Demello, Bodies of Inscription
So often I hear people talk about tattoos and tattoo photography. I hear a mixture of different things. Some people love tattoos, or at least love to look at them. Others think that it's fine to have one if you're a rockstar, but if you're anyone else, then you're a criminal. My favorite thing I heard about tattoos (can you hear the sarcasm just from my typing?) was that a woman should never dare to scar her skin with a tattoo, because if she did, she was asking for things to be assumed about her.
For several reasons, all of these things bother me. I have a tattoo, with plans to get more. Many of my friends are tattooed. My parents are tattooed. While I know people who deeply regret some of the tattoos that they got when they were younger, many of the people I know thought deeply and prayed deeply before they decided on a tattoo. So many people are shamed for their decisions, without anyone ever asking about the symbolism.
"Good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good." -Unknown
And that is where I come in. Tattoo photography is a great passion of mine. Not only because I love tattoos and seeing the art on a living person, but because tattooed people need to be seen as people. If society keeps treating people like they are second class, simply because they're tattooed, they start to believe it.
Think about it. Someone has invested hundreds of dollars into their tattoos, and those tattoos look amazing. Why wouldn't they want to show them off? I love getting to share the stories of each tattoo, because no two tattoos are the same, and no two reasons for the tattoos are the same. They may share some similar aspects, but each one is totally unique.
As a photographer, getting to share stories is why I got into the business. It's the reason I spend so much time devoting myself to the art. Tattoos are stories that are permanently on your skin for the world to see. The world may not always want to hear the story, or interpret it the correct way, but it is still a story to be told. And it is my great pleasure to get to share those stories.