Inked is an expression of my curiosity towards the process of painfully imprinting something permanent on the skin. I questioned if the meanings changed with time. Was that worth the pain you went through? The sitters were asked about their experience that inspired them to get a tattoo. For some it is a souvenir of an event or experience that they wanted to permanently bear on themselves while for others it is a symbol.
Begona got her first tattoo when she moved to Berlin changing her life completely when her job and house contracts ended in 2010. She had Carpe Diem tattooed in her own handwriting as a personal touch to this memento that will remind her of that moment. She was back in London when we shot these photographs but she often travels back to Germany.
Christina’s favourite tattoo with an Owl and a Deer symbolises happiness and interpersonal connection. She designed the tattoo herself and took it to a tattoo artist, who added her own style to make it more beautiful on the body. Christina formed a creative synergy with her tattoo artist and plan to have more tattoos with her. Recently diagnosed with the anxiety disorder OCD, tattoos for her symbolise a form of control as well as happiness. “If I can’t control how I feel, I can control how I look.” She reckons she tends to get tattoos as symbols of things she cannot have or misses consistently in life. The tattoos bring those feelings or moments close to her as symbols and mementos together creating a type of positivity for her.
Helen has embodied her escapism through the tattoos. Her wish to have a voluptuous figure, her love for Roxy Music – music as well as their album covers, women she has admired, all have found a place on her body as a tattoo. Her new tattoo of Goddess Kali actually symbolises that desire even more strongly. The goddess is shown holding essential items from daily life across her ten hands and with a voluptuous naked body.