Portraits of Heavily Tattooed People Who Normally Cover Up

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My dad used to joke that I’d get a larger share of his will than my sister because of her tattoo, a handwritten line on the back of her neck. Well, the subjects of Alan Powdrill’s COVERED exhibition would be his worst nightmare. Powdrill’s 2015 art exhibit featured people whose entire bodies were covered in tattoos.

The concept behind the show was simple. Powdrill shot two images per person, one where the person’s tattoos are covered by clothing, and one where they’re fully on display. Each of the pictures was accompanied by a quote from the person photographed, talking about the origin or meaning of their tattoo.

The name of the exhibit referred to the way that its subjects were covered in tattoos, the way they covered up those tattoos and the exhibit’s central question: how much of a person’s personality is really covered or uncovered in their everyday life. As Powdrill asked in his artist’s statement, “How do we judge people when we can’t see their skin beneath?”

“I was 17. I hid my first few from my parents for many years and by the time they found out, they knew this was going to be my life.” (Phillip, 27)

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“My Kiss tattoos are my favourites, the pain was incredible but it feels good to show my ultimate dedication to the band,” (Kimmy, left, from Ruislip) “If I ever forget who I am I take my clothes off and look in the mirror and find out who I am again,” (Chris, 25, from Coventry)

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“I was 51 when I started and my father was already dead and my mum didn’t say anything as she was in the early stages of dementia.” (Graham, 58)

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“They have given me confidence in life since my Crohn’s illness. I will love them in the future like I do now.” (Peter, 38)

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To learn more about the exhibit, see ‘NEXT PAGE.’ And why not ‘SHARE’ on Facebook?

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