Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Let's eliminate the suspense - London Tattoos is a lovely book, and one of the best tattoo titles I have seen in recent years. I recommend it highly and strongly encourage Tattoosday readers to check it out.

The book is beautifully photographed by Alex MacNaughton. The concept is simple: each subject stands in a full shot at the beginning of their section. There is a paragraph or two composed by the host, describing, in various degrees of detail, their tattoo journeys. A list of tattooist credits follow as footnotes, and then we are treated to several more (at the very least) more detailed shots of the body sections featuring the person's ink.


There is a fine distinction here, that between a close-up of a tattoo, and a close-up of the tapestry on which the tattoo is marked. Its a fine line of art that McNaughton executes brillianty. We catch glimpses of work, we see sections in great detail, but we are rarely confronted by an image that is a sterile full-frame of tattoo.


I just love the way that this photo narrative unfolds. Especially remarkable are the subjects who appear mostly, if not fully, covered. A turn of the page strips layers off of the individuals and we are treated to the artistic treasures that lie beneath. It dazzles the imagination, the unveiling of a person who appears uninked, only to reveal a breath-taking display of coverage that illuminates that this person spent hours upon hours under the needle.

It is brilliantly executed and I recommend it fully, all 304 pages with 700 color illustrations. Alex MacNaughton is also the author of London Street Art, London Street Art 2 and London Street Art Anthology. I encourage Tattoosday readers to buy London Tattoos - the holidays are just around the corner - and, at the very least, visit MacNaughton's website here to get a bigger taste of the work inside this wonderful book.

This entry is ©2011 Tattoosday. Photographs are ©2011 Alex MacNaughton.

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