I have photographed many young females with massive tattoo displays recently. Most all of them were strikingly colorful; both the young lady and her tattoos. They have held all sorts of jobs, been from various backgrounds and nearly all under 21.
The young never see themselves growing old or their bodies wearing out and loosing its youthful firmness. Although I do not have tattoos, almost got inked one night in Army boot camp back in ’72 though, I can understand one, two or a few tats to mark an occasion, person or event. To have massive, highly visible sleeves at 18 or 19 is not looking beyond the rebellious moment of youthful freedom.
I did encounter a young woman about 2 years ago, she was in her late twenties, who realized life, to include her body, moves on. She asked if I would photograph her tattoos, after a short discussion we agreed on date, time and place. During the session she explained to me her body was ‘failing her’, her words and she wanted to memorialize them as her body is now and not as her children and grandkids would eventually see them.
I am not against tattoos, I enjoy the photographic challenge of lighting them and posing the model to achieve the best effect. I never mention my thoughts about the years to come and how I have learned life and bodies change. I simply take the photographs for their grandkids.