“Excuse me!” Do you mind if I take your photo?”
“Sure, no problem. What do you want me to do?”
And this was pretty much the reaction of everyone I asked. Not a single person said no.
It still took a while before I stopped getting a knot in my stomach before asking, but by the end of the day I was far more confident.
If I’m honest, one of the biggest problems for me was realising how difficult it was going to be to get a good photo of anyone. The simple fact is, when I take a photo of someone, I want to make him or her look cool or interesting.
Usually when I photograph someone, I spend time with them to establish a rapport and trust. I arrange the background so it’s uncluttered, and the lighting to help generate the mood I’m after. I take many shots, showing them as I go, so we can work together towards achieving an image we are both going to be really happy with.
At the Tattoo Convention, however, I could do none of these things. The backgrounds were busy from any direction; the lighting was very low and mostly coming from straight above, so cast dark shadows over the eyes; and I only had 30 seconds to a minute with them to try and get something worthwhile.
Because I handed a business card to nearly everyone I photographed, and told them if they contacted me I would send them a copy of the photo, it meant the challenge was immense.
I have spent most of the past week working on the best of the photos, making adjustments to compensate for the poor lighting and background conditions.
Finally I have a collection I’m ok about displaying. Below are a small handful. The rest can be found on my Flickr Account, or on my Facebook Photography page
As always, you can click on the images for larger versions
David - the very first person I asked to photograph
This guy was getting an eagle head tattooed on his neck
Laura had problems keeping a straight face
Originally from Borneo, this guy does traditional tattooing by hand - not an electrical appliance in sight. A much slower process and certainly not for faint hearted
Sakura's "horns" are silican implants. Despite appearances, she was a very warm and friendly person to chat to
Nonchalant expression. To look at her you might be forgiven for thinking she was being drawn on in felt pen rather than having a needle jabbed thousands of times into her thigh.
Rogan was amazed that no one seemed to be in any pain. Fortunately, Skid (the singer from Cash From Chaos who got us in) pointed out that no one wanted to let on they were in pain when they were being watched.
He said when he’s at a tattooist he’s usually uttering a constrant stream of loud swearing, unless someone else comes into the shop. Then he has to appear all nonchalant like he’s hardly noticing it’s going on – casually glancing over to the tattooist and saying, “Have you started yet?”
Do check out the Flickr Account, or Facebook Photography page to see the rest