Monday, August 26, 2013

Skin in the Game

 It's All About the Tattoo Art, 2013

(Click on images to see larger)

I broke one of my rules for these pictures.
I’ll do a lot of things in the name of getting the picture I want. I’ll trespass. I’ll ask the subject to move into a better position. I’ll use Photoshop to clean up my mistakes.
But what I won’t do it pay someone on the street to let me take their picture.

This is a practical matter. Once you pay someone to sit for a street photograph, 1) everyone expects to be paid and 2) you become a target for every beggar and ragamuffin.

There are more than enough interesting looking people in the world to photograph. If someone insists on being paid for a street photograph, I politely decline and move on until I find a more willing subject.

Up until a week or so ago, this rule of not paying had extended to not paying exorbitant tariffs to get into places where I’d like to photograph people. I’ve paid, say, $5 or $10 to get into an event where there was photographic potential. But that was it.

Then my friend the eminent illustrator Walt Taylor insisted I go with him to a tattoo convention. Walt and I sometimes wander around the local scene on Saturdays, me looking for things to photograph and him looking for inspirations for illustrations.

I didn’t have anything against going to a tattoo convention. People with tattoos can be intimidating to some people. But they’re also among the easiest people to get to sit for photographs. I thought there might be some interesting people at a tattoo convention. Besides, Walt’s been threatening for several years to get a tattoo. I thought this might be the day.


In This Man's Navy, 2013

What I didn’t reckon on was that there’d be a $25 admission fee to get into the tattoo convention. But in the name of friendship and photography, and after making sure they’d allow photography, I went ahead and agreed to this inky excursion.

The convention center where the event was held was a sea of booths containing lots of tattoo art and chairs and tables where people could sit or lie down while a tattoo artist did his or her work.

There’s a curious intersection of themes in the tattoo art world I hadn’t anticipated. The fifties-style pin-up girl look is big. So is anything steampunk. The real surprise, though, was the number of exhibitors that had taxidermied animals in their displays. Can someone explain this for me?


Framing the Art, 2013

In the end, I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d hoped and wasn’t very pleased with what I did take. Walt, by the way, didn’t get a tattoo, either. But he did buy a tattoo convention t-shirt. That might qualify you as hip in Norfolk. But from where I sit that doesn’t count as real skin in the game. 


Taxidermy and Tattoos, 2013

1 comment:

  1. "Imminent" illustrator, my ass. I've been one since before you were born.