Getting a tattoo is quite a commitment. For photographer Mark Leaver, the move to get inked wasn't quite intense enough. Leaver chose to up the ante, capturing with his camera those who dared to make their permanent mark on a body part far more prominent than any.
Yes, we're talking about face tattoos.
The motivations behind face tattoos are as varied as the designs themselves. "Some wanted a radical transformation and facial tattoo becomes for them a kind of mask," Leaver explained to Skinked. "For others, it is just a rebellion against the system." Whatever the reasoning, once committed to bringing body art to the face, there is no turning back.
Joe Munroe -26 years old
Leaver, who by the way is in college, embarked on a striking series, simply titled "Tattoos," that captures those who have adorned their face with indelible ink. Capturing intimate close-ups of his tattooed subjects, he accesses an underlying layer of vulnerability beneath the outwardly intimidating exterior. "Historically facial tattoos have had a huge amount of taboos around them," Leaver explains in his statement.
"People associate facial tattoos with a number of negative things including suicide rates, criminality and depression. This couldn’t be further from the case now. Facial tattoos now represent creativity, aesthetics, transformation and spirituality." Leaver's subjects, who are mostly relatively young, share the highs and lows of their tatted lives. In his striking photos, Leaver challenges viewers to look beyond the face and see the person.
Check your assumptions and take a look at Leaver's bold and beautiful subjects below.