Holiday Gift Guide: "In Your Face: The Beauty of Traditional Tattooing"
The motto of tattoo journalist Travellin' Mick is "Wherever I lay my head is home," and over the years, "home" has often been remote villages where Mick has stayed with indigenous people documenting their culture and body modification practices. While he has written extensively about his experiences for many tattoo magazines, the images and essays have never been collected into one comprehensive volume. He's now setting out to do so.
The first step in his publishing projects is a calendar and traveling exhibit called "In Your Face: The Beauty of Traditional Tattooing." The engaging wall calendar can be ordered via Trust Bodymodification's online store for 20 Euros or by contacting Mick through his website. The US price is $30 and the UK's is 20 BP.
Mick recently showed "In Your Face" in Singapore, and his next exhibition will be at Melbourne's Rites of Passage Festival, January 28th to 30th. He plans to bring the series to cities across Europe throughout 2011.
Describing the motivation behind "In Your Face," Mick says:
Over the last ten years of traveling, I accumulated a vast archive of photographs of traditional tattoos on people from around the world. Even though they were originally taken for documentary purposes, over time I realized that many of the portraits I did have an undeniable aesthetic quality: They tell stories of those people, show their pride and beauty. Often they are the very last ones of their kind, maybe 100 years old, and in their faces and eyes you can clearly see the history of their people.
Here are just a couple of images from the calendar and the stories behind them:
"March: I was looking for traditional tattoos in Gujarat province of India near the Pakistan border. I came to an old weaver's house, who was maybe in his 50s. He said: 'Oh, I don't have any tattoos, but my grandmother has!' She was 96 when I took those photos, and she was very alert and funny."
"April is a crazy one: This boy is a refugee kid from Myanmar. There is a monastery on the Thailand side of the border, where those kids are taken in, given an education, learn how take responsibilities by training horses and practicing martial arts. They get marked by the head monk, with a bee, because it is a social animal, one that labours for the well-being of the whole society, not just himself."
I'm looking forward to seeing the next stage in this project, a large-format book filled with his photographs with detailed descriptions of the images along with travel stories, his personal philosophy, and more.