A new exhibition Skin Deep, by London photographer Danny Baldwin, highlights the seismic mood change within the fashion industry that has seen many agencies shift from representing only models without tattoos, or those that are easily hidden, to building entire campaigns around elaborately inked individuals.
Long considered an outsider art form, tattooing has become a powerful form of creative expression used to help individuals stake claim over their bodies, encouraging acceptance and celebrating individuality, freedom of expression and creativity.
Skin Deep features 100 black and white nude images of professional tattooed male models shot against a stark black, signature background.
The exhibition was created over the course of a year and brings together a variety of male models from across a range of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities, all with one thing in common, their inked skin.
“Over the past few years I started to notice a marked change in the models who worked in front of my camera. In just a short space of time they changed from being fresh faced and clean cut blank canvases, to the sort of models usually referred to as alternative, individuals with an edge of defiance, whose tattoos represent the ownership they have over their bodies,” explained Baldwin.
Baldwin wanted to document this significant and rapid change in acceptance and to celebrate the art form of tattooing within a fashion setting.
“With Skin Deep I want to show a wider audience something that is visually stimulating and celebrates how these people are breaking the mould of what others think by being true to themselves in an elite industry and expressing who they are through the medium of tattooing.”
Danny added, “With just a lens between them and me, and stripped of the character that a designer’s clothing demands, each tattoo is specific, personal and unique to the bearer, chosen by the model to say something special about themselves.”
“I wanted to break tradition with the usual portrait formats that you see in exhibitions, and recreate something that pays tribute to the digital media platforms that have pushed my work into the public domain.”
“The resulting images are as much about resistance as exposure, the model determines how much, or little, of themselves they give over to the camera. They explore how tattoos can give a true insight into a person’s inner self, or can be used as armour to protect the bearer from those who can’t get past judging what’s on the surface.”
You can support the Skin Deep exhibition by providing much needed funding to help pay for the printing of the exhibition and the exhibition space. With successful funding, it is expected the London exhibition will be launched in January 2016.
Last Updated on Nov 6, 2015