Tuesday, February 5, 2008

tattooed & troubled

Every summer, heavenly bodies sashay along the shoreline of Boracay, my country's most famous beach.

They wear very little textile... but a lot of ink. Yes, a washable henna tattoo is the most ubiquitous – and affordable – accessory around the island.

For as low as $5, you can have an bold tribal symbol emblazoned on your biceps or buns. It's quite effective if you want to emphasize your... uhm... assets.

Today, self-esteem or self-expression are the usual reasons for getting a tattoo (permanent or otherwise), but 2400 years ago, Pazyryk nomads wore them to show their status as individuals.

Early Polynesians who displayed bravery in battle were distinguished by tattoos.

Such body marks were part of religious rituals in ancient Egypt.

During the Roman empire, they were a means to identify slaves, criminals, and outcasts.

And in more recent times, a tattoo became a man's way to pledge his love for a woman.

A year ago, I photographed a male model (NOT the one in the pic above) who had three tribal tattoos on his body. One was on his right bicep, the other around his navel, and the third on his left wrist.

When I was finally 'photoshopping' his pics on my laptop, I noticed that the tattoo on his wrist appeared less sharp, muddier than the others. I zoomed in and saw why: it overlapped with two slash-like scars – thin jagged lines that ran parallel to each other, and cross the bluish and reddish veins of his wrist. The type that are usually self-inflicted. :-(

The telltale marks were out of character, I thought. Earlier during the shoot, he appeared lighthearted and outgoing. Who would have thought...?

Oh, well.

I guess that's what a tattoo is for sometimes: to hide an emotional scar or a painful past. In such a case, it's ink, not ointment, that helps the wound to heal.

(Top, left) Series 11's Pattern Bearbrick, released in December 2005. (Above, right) Pic of DJ John Joe Joseph by yours truly / Info from Wikipedia, tattoosymbol.com, designboom.com

(Above) Free tribal tattoo designs from tribalshapes.com

3 comments:

Johnny@My tattoos said...

Nice blog, I have added it to my favourites, greetings. What do You think about this mystrious tribal film
Amazing & Mystrious tribal tattoos

Bearbrick Lover: said...

Johnny, a lot of great tribal tattoos there – did you edit it yourself? Good job! :-)

Anonymous said...

I like them designs they have some like that on other sites.

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