Smithsonian: Looking at the World's Tattoos
This month's Smithsonian Magazine features an article by Abigail Tucker on photojournalist Chris Rainer entitled "Looking at the World's Tattoos."
[I became an instant fan of Rainer in 2006 when I bought his gorgeous photography book Ancient Marks: The Sacred Art of Tattooing & Body Marking.]
The article looks at Rainer's experience, from his time spent as Ansel Adams' last assistant in the 80s to his first introduction to traditional tattooing and how that informed a body of work that explores the art across the globe from Borneo to Burning Man. Here's what Tucker says of the photographer's start:
"Like his mentor, Rainier is primarily a black-and-white photographer. Unlike Adams, however, he is less captivated by landscapes than by the topography of the body, and he specialized in portraits. In the 1990s, while traveling the world to chronicle waning indigenous cultures, he got interested in traditional tattooing--which has cropped up from Greenland to Thailand at one time or another--and its sister art, scarification, a cutting practice more common in West Africa and elsewhere. Some of those customs, Rainier says, are dying out as modernization penetrates even remote areas."
A slideshow of select images from Rainer's tattoo-focused work accompanies the article.
The article also discusses the upcoming film Tattoo Odyssey, which will air on the Smithsonian channel on September 26th. In it, Rainer visits the Mentawai people in a remote village on the Indonesian island of Siberut. There he sets out to document their ancient tattoo ritual as it rapidly disappears.
Thanks to Father Panik for the link.