The Illustrated Man
Fencer Miles Chamley Watson photographed by Sophy Holland.
Rick Genest, aka Zombie Boy, photographed by Sophy Holland.
In 2009, I started a series of posts here entitled "Objectified Tattooed Men," a cheeky response to all the "inked doll" and "tattooed babe" features in tattoo magazines. The series didn't go far because, unlike the hoards of young women who line up to show their tattooed bodies for free, there was no budget for the tattooed dudes who wanted pay for play. No matter how much I told these guys how pretty they were, they still didn't think they had to strip down for self-esteem.
At that time, the "tattoo model" career choice was limited to tattoo industry media because the fashion industry wasn't using decorated bodies, with rare exceptions, on their runways or in editorials. Today, this is an entirely different story. For men.
Exploring today's tattoo culture, with a particular eye toward the experiences of tattooed men in fashion, is Sophy Holland's "Illustrated Man" documentary film and photographic series. The project is described as follows:
Incepted in 2016 this fine art photography collection documents the many subjects' ultimate and often intimate illustrations of 'self' through ink, and chronicles the inexorable rise of the 'tattooed male' pin up, as fashion and tattoo culture converge for the first time in a mainstream increasingly fuelled by Generation Y.
Sophy, a New York-based photographer & director, is heavily tattooed herself and so she comes at it with an insider's perspective, but she also taps others in the industry, like tattoo historian Michael McCabe, Inked editor Rocky Rakovic, tattooer Josh Lords, and musician (and Ink Master host) Dave Navarro. I'm in it too. [I was interviewed soon after I had my baby, and I was very happy to have an adult conversation, filmed or not!]
It's an insightful and beautiful film, beyond the beautiful men featured, and I highly recommend seeing it.
You can view the entire film for free on Sophy's "Illustrated Man" page. Also check the Illustrated Man Instagram.