Portrait of a Tattoo Artist – John Harvell
December 26, 2018
What got you started in digital photography ?
After missing most of my family events in life and the army taking me to faraway places. I wanted to capture beautiful things. I didn’t want to miss anymore moments. After serving in Iraq, I needed to cope with the mental instability that replays in my mind. I find photography to be therapeutic and love taking images of flowers and people.
What inspired you to create this body of work and is it something you plan to continue?
The inspiration came from PHOA 205 Photojournalism class, that is taught by Ms. Mott. The assignment was on people who work with their hands. I decided on Tattoo Artists and Piercers. The artists can’t make mistakes or severe consequences can happen. I have decided to turn this into a personal project and contacted other local tattoo artists that are willing to participate. I currently have two shops that will ask clients if they would like their tattoos to being documented.
Was it difficult to get your foot in the door with the tattoo community and how did you go about finding models?
I have tattoos, but none of them where done here in a local shop. I didn’t know any of the people or shops in the area and had to go out and find places. It was difficult at first and I was rejected by two shops but finally Mike D from Fats Tattoo and Body Piercing, was willing to give me a chance. After I captured him and post processed the images, more tattoo parlors were willing to allow me to shoot there. This project will continue, and my goal is to create a photobook for each shop I do.
What’s next for your photography?
The next project I want to do is capture dancers in action and highlight their motion and elegance. I think dancers will also help me learn a new direction for posing models.
To see more of John’s work: https://www.behance.net/gallery/71180941/Portrait-of-a-Tattoo-Artist
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