In graduate school I had a class titled "Aesthetics II". One of the projects I had to do for this class was an oral presentation with twelve slides, to last about 20 minutes. The topic was totally open to me. I was delighted as the National Tattoo Association was coming to town for their annual convention, and it was timed just right for me to use as my project topic. I had never gone to a tattoo convention before, and never shot slides for an oral presentation so I was both excited and nervous. All the images came from a two hour photo session at the opening night Meet and Greet. It was every photographer for themselves, and everyone was out to see and be seen whether they were wielding a camera or not!

I shot three or four 36 exposure rolls of film in two hours, going as fast as I possibly could. In that time I made it around the room once. I used a combination of asking for people's permission to photograph them, and jumping in on gang shoots around someone who was posing for someone who had asked for permission. Every single person I photographed had a unique story. It's amazing the kind of bits you get having a one to two minute exchange with over 100 people in two hours.

For the oral part of the presentation, I just improvised. If there's one thing I can talk about, it's tattooing, especially in a graduate school class where I knew I was the hands-down the expert. I have tattoos on my arms from elbow to elbow, and over 30 body piercings: nobody else in the class even came close to my level of personal involvement, and they all just went nuts over the images. Just a few remarks about the art being shown or the person displaying the tattoo brought tons of questions and emotional reactions. The teacher loved it! I had been somewhat imtimidated that there were so many photo majors in the class, and I was studying fashion textiles, but I'm here to say, if you love it just go be the expert and they'll listen to you without a doubt. I have added commments along the lines of my presentation to each image, and there are some bonus images (see Presentation Outtakes) that were edited from that shoot as well.

Check out this body art!

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