TThrough the ages tattooing has undergone many conflicting cultural changes. Once considered a divine ritualistic art in ancient times, tattooing as a credible art form lost much of its social and cultural value by the turn of the 20th Century. Tattoo parlours became synonymous with a ‘sleazy’ urban underbelly and became equated with subversive types and delinquents, including undesirable drunkards and brawling shipyard workers. For much of the 20th Century stigma was rife and there were no designated places to study tattoo artistry.
A while in the past, one day I decided to do a street casting asking people with a tattoo, piercing or any other artistic marks to pop into the studio. When they were in front of my camera and small team they really had no idea what to do and at first thought this would be a great way to get the best out of their time, however realising that this was an inefficient and time consuming process I decide that I would give each subject three minutes to be themselves in front of my camera. The three minutes consisted of a quick fire round of four questions and whilst they were answering I picked the best moments to capture these images.
- What make you happy the most
- What scares you
- Do you feel intimidated by the setup here and me today?
- What would be the best outcome from this experience?
OOne of the cast models had an absolutely captivating look. A look that had been indelibly manufactured and fabricated from the very depths of their deepest darkest macabre thoughts. This fine representation was an absolute must for me to spend time and study their artform. Midflow through their transformation was this opportune moment for me to capture the hard work already done. Many tattoo and adornments were a feature but the most captivating were the two black eyes or the whites of the eyes which were tattooed.
So as a fashion photographer, I am normally more familiar with a team creating beauty and meaningful looks for brands wanting to elevate their products and market them out to the masses. Here was a person who was in complete control of their own marketing and presentation and was an absolute thrill for me to capture their presence with some one on one portrait images. Appearing a little nervous in front of my camera,
I wanted these pictures which were now a personal project to stand the test of time whilst also standing alone as a fine portrait and best represention. More importantly, a perfectly relaxed subject happy in their own skin. I feel proud of this squence as one of my first real people personal project successes.
A simply lit subject with Kino tube lighting and reflector and taken with my Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens. The grade was aplied in lightroom with one of my grades, slightly cross-processed.