You can have different opinions about tattoos. There are people, who quite like them and people, who don’t like them at all. But there is not much in between. For those, who don’t like them, you can stop reading right here.
Shooting people with tattoos is a special challenge. A tattoo typically has a meaning to the owner and expresses a part of his personalty, hopes, desires or an important incident. If the tattoo is visible in the photo and prominently displayed, the persons expression should match with it. I like to shoot people with tattoos and I always ask them what the story is behind it.
When I met Eric on a flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai, I saw his tattoos and immediately developed the idea to have him in my studio. Before the plane landed, we already agreed on the shooting. He wanted to make himself a gift for his upcoming fiftieth birthday and asked the photos to look „cool“.
I decided using a very low key set up to get dramatic shadows. For some photos I used a lens projector (optical snoot) as a light former with a very narrow rectangular cut out projection. Some of the photos were converted to black and white, supporting the nature of the scene.
His favorite photo is the one, I also like best. In the image the light projection creates a leading diagonal, pronouncing nicely the very graphical tattoo pattern on his right arm and a part of his face, keeping the rest in relative darkness. His thoughtful expression is authentic and fits the scene.