Tattooing has held a life long fascination for me since early teenage years. In 1977 I began photographing heavily tattooed people in their own environments. I initially chose tattoo artists since they were the most heavily tattooed before the current popularity of the art. They referred me to some of their customers who were heavily tattooed. Some of the artists and other subjects were friends and others have become friends. The portraits were done of people from diverse economic and occupational backgrounds. The project was done over a twenty-seven year period. I also interviewed and tape recorded each person. They were photographed in black and white to put the emphasis on the person and not the tattoos. I wanted the viewer to see the subjects as people, hear their stories, which are in their own words and, hopefully gain a different insight about tattooed people than the generalized and stereotypical viewpoint that the majority of the population and media held.
In my project I selected people who were dedicated to tattoo art and compiling a collection of art on their body as an art collector accumulates art for their homes. My subjects were not getting tattooed because tattooing had suddenly become popular, or fashionable. For them, it was a way of life, a culture of tattooing. They were also not concerned that they were becoming a visible minority, or that some societal doors closed.
Since my project evolved over the span of twenty-seven years I had the opportunity to revisit some of the people and photograph them again from nine to twenty seven years later. It was always fascinating to see how people aged, how their environment changed and if they became more tattooed.
In February 2003 Schiffer Publishing LTD published my completed work in a book, which is titled Under My Skin.