I don’t have too much to say on this topic right now, as I’ll be elaborating on the whole project farther down the line when the core work is behind us. But as practice sessions go I’m very happy with this test run. There are key elements to every type of shoot a photographer carries out. Nobody has all the answers, but there are several basics that help us to gain perspective and dilute the equations of our work. An example would be that you can’t shoot buildings the same way you shoot fashion. Although it’s understandable that a degree of style and “artistic” impression is often desirable on the photographers part, your style may not always best represent the figure at hand.
Going into this and based on shallow past experience, I knew it was necessary to create strong contrast between the background and the subject, but also to maintain the shape of an instantly recognizable body part. Something I feel is often lost in “tattoo photography”, is when the area of affect is isolated to give the best view of the piece, but in turn we lose perspective for where it’s actually located and the scale of the work can become impossible to negotiate. This might not bother everyone, but it infuriates me and fails to hold my attention. No scale, no point.
If I am to pursue any work in this area then it needs the attributes that will ensnare the readers eye, forcing them to study it if only for a few moments longer than the rest. I believe it must have style, continuity, perspective and integrity to represent the piece in the best possible manner. Countless hours and often thousands of Euros go into our tattoos, and it absolutely baffles me beyond words why anyone would overlook the cataloguing of this work when the hard labour has already been poured in.
But do tattoos need this kind of representation? Or is it enough to just shoot it in the tattoo studio with an iphone or whatever is at hand? Is a shoot a waste of time when it comes to portfolio work or magazine articles assuming that the work itself is all people care about? And as a result, is the absence of scale or location of little importance?
Here’s 2 self portraits shot using a Fuji X100.