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Photo Story - it's all about family

The sentimentality of permanent body marking. A collage of photos and the stories that bind the themes together.  People choose to identify their family events with many forms of identification.  Some people choose to wear wedding rings, some change the name, while others change the way they dress in public.

In these cases, people have chosen to permanently mark their bodies with symbols that reflect their family.  From personal hand writing to favorite colors people design custom markings to remind them and show others about their "family".

Alexis tattoo.jpg
Richie Rose.jpg

There are numerous types and thousands of variation of tattoos, but one singular reason people get a tattoo...

While researching for this project I expected to find thousands of different types of tattoos, with wild symbolism surrounding the story of "how and why I got this tattoo".  After taking pictures and interviewing my subjects I found that most people get tattoos not to show off to others about how 'wild' they are, but rather to save a memory of their family.  From butterflies to flowers, from family crests to signatures people long to keep a memory of their loved ones close to heart.  A tattoo is permanent, and you carry it everywhere with you.  The selection of photos (above) show the theme of "family" very well.  I have covered in more detail the reason and purpose behind each tattoo in the section entitled "tattoo stories" on this site.

While black ink is the most common ink used to mark or outline a tattoo, I am excited to see the use of rich vibrant colors.  The artists that perform these markings are true "artists" and their canvas varies in tone, color, and pigment.  Interviews with tattoo artists reveille the difficulties in getting the object just right.  In my research I found the opposite.  The subjects were all very satisfied with their artists work.  As a matter of fact each person remembered where (which studio) they received their tattoo.  

Because these markings are so permanent they also serve as a form of identification for each family member.  Not in a morbid sense, but rather all but one of the subjects I interviewed informed their family of their tattoo.  People today are much more accepting of tattoos, and society is better for this.  Because or tattoos our rich family history will be better memorialized and more people will know what it means to be part of "our family".

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