I love tattoos. And it is not because they look cool. They have a density to their presence - as complex symbols for the person whose skin they are inked in, to the skilled and not so skilled artist who creates them, and to the events they shadow, like artistic doppelgangers.
I love them all- from the beautifully colorful and elegant designs, to the rough and edgy prison tats mirroring the hard world world they were made in. Small or large, simple or complex, they really are beautiful to me.
And I don't have any- cause I am a wimp, but mostly because I can still hear my fathers heavily accented voice chastising me for thinking of puncturing my skin with ink.
So instead, I photograph them when I can. Sasha had some beautiful ones. They are all about her mother- her interests, fears, dreams. She told me her mom cried when she saw the creation. I really appreciated her sharing her stories with me.
When shooting tats, I always try to have the light play off the skin. I usually focus only on the artwork and try to get the body part to shape the image. On rare occasions, when the model is as interesting as the tats, I'll include them as well. But generally, it is a lot more fun to create an abstract frame with the arms.
On these shots I metered at f9, 125. Mostly to darken the background as much as possible, and also to see if I could let the light drape over her skin. It took a while to set the single Bowens, with a honeycomb grid to bring the light focus on specific areas of her skin. The idea is to bring attention to the artwork and nothing else.