When was the last time you ever attempted a street casting event? This was the first of my personal photographic projects, a street casting with the subject of Tattoo and accessories. A pure gamble capturing a subject outside of my usual comfort zone to show photography is all bout being able to photograph with light, shape, and composition. Understand both composition and your subject. It’s what you are known for and what you can do. A first personal project for many years”[/perfectpullquote]
Through 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 parlors 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 tattoos, piercings, or any other artistic marks to pop into the studio. When they were in front of my camera and the small team, they really had no idea what to do and at first, thought this would be a great way to get the most out of their time; however, realising that this was an inefficient and time-consuming process, I decided that I would give each subject three minutes to be themselves in front of my camera. The three minutes consisted of a quickfire round of four questions, and while they were answering, I picked the best moments to capture these images.
- What makes you happy the most?
- What scares you?
- Do you feel intimidated by the setup here and with me today?
- What would be the best outcome from this experience?
One 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 tattoos 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 to the masses. Here was a person who was in complete control of their own marketing and presentation and it 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 while also standing alone as a fine portrait and the best representation. More importantly, a perfectly relaxed subject is happy in their own skin. I feel proud of this sequence as one of my first real-life personal project successes.
A simply lit subject with Kino tube lighting and reflector, taken with my Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens. The grade was applied in Lightroom with one of my grades, slightly cross-processed.