Even though I have completed my first book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, I still like to collect stories of people and their ink. I met Victor while he was working for my parents. Of course, I immediately noticed the art on his sleeve. It’s no surprise that Alice in Wonderland is one of his favorite movies. However, one thing that I was surprised to learn from my conversation with Victor is how tolerant religious communities have become in regard to tattoos. Victor is very active in his church, and he has not encountered negativity towards his tattoo. During my interview with Victor, I came to realize that tattoos give people the ability to keep their artwork and memories with them no matter what. In the past year, we’ve seen horrific environmental disasters affect many cities all over the country. Sometimes, in a matter of a just a few hours, people lose everything that they own. People with tattoos don’t have to worry about losing the art on their bodies. As tattoos have become more mainstream, our idea of art has evolved. Art is no longer exclusive. Art belongs to all of us.
Last week I read an article in The Daily Beast about photographer and co-founder of WireImage Jeff Vespa. In the article, Vespa talked about celebrity portraiture and how he doesn’t like to tell his subjects how to pose, as it is not helpful in creating an authentic portrait and posing can mostly be corny, if not annoying and unnatural to the person being photographed. His work, by the way, is exquisite, and, if you haven’t seen his photography, I suggest you check him out. One of the challenges I have encountered with my tattoo project is that I’m trying to capture more than one thing in the photo. I want people to be able to appreciate the tattoo, but I also want them to be able to feel a connection with the person in the photo. For me, connection comes through the eyes. Most of the people I’ve been photographing are not the most comfortable in front of the camera. I can tell almost right away that they’re waiting for instruction on how to stand or pose. Thus, it’s always striking a balance between giving them ideas while not losing the authenticity. I always tell them to stand how they feel most comfortable, and […]
I met music producer Larry Elyea when I joined his fiance’s all girl rock band The Heathers. Larry is the owner of Mind’s Eye Digital Recording Studio, and his work is well known throughout the valley. He has worked with local Phoenix musicians as well as major label artists like Five Finger Death Punch and Corey Taylor from Slipknot. While I was in The Heathers, I didn’t really have a chance get to know Larry, but the few times that I saw him, I always noticed the vibrant ink on his right arm. So naturally when I decided to do this project, I thought Larry’s portrait would be an awesome addition. During the session, Larry told me the story of how he found out he had a Staph infection. One of the tattoos was not healing properly. He eventually got extremely sick and that’s when they diagnosed him. As it turned out, his house had previously suffered severe roof damage. As a result, his house was riddled with black mold, which was compromising his immune system and thus, preventing his tattoos from healing properly. Fortunately, he fully recovered from the infection and is no longer enduring a house filled with […]