WEDDING SEASON SALE! 30% Off Training Systems!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Featured Projects

Hundreds Reveal Their Hidden Tattoos in ‘The Tattoo Project’

By Hanssie on May 19th 2014

People are usually surprised to find out that I have a tattoo. And even more so, when I reveal that I have not only one, but seven tattoos all over my body. Each one tells a story. Each one is a special part of my journey.

Tattoos have been around for centuries in many cultures around the world. Since the 70’s ,tattoos have become part of the Western fashion. Sometimes as a bold statement, sometimes hidden away from the world, a secret to the bearer and to whom they choose to reveal it.


Now, Vancouver based photographer, Spencer Kovats has set about revealing the tattoos of hundreds of people in a series of side-by-side portraits. Kovats was one of 12 photographers who collaborated on “The Tattoo Project” where hundreds of people were invited to show off their ink for a gallery. A coming together of Canons, Nikons, Leicas, et,c and the melding of minds for the sake of art. Each had his own perspective and Kovats focused his portion of the project on before and after shots of people, first covering their tattoos and then stripped down, exposing their tattoos, happily and freely for the world to see.


The_Tattoo_Project_01 The_Tattoo_Project_2 The_Tattoo_Project_4 The_Tattoo_Project_5

It’s interesting to see the personality changes in these photographs when people are freed, in a sense, to show off their badges, their stories, their art told in bold colors, patterns and photos, that which lies beneath their clothing. Kovats challenges viewers through his images to focus on the way we perceive and judge people based on their appearances. As you view each image, notice if your perception changes of the person in each photograph. Does your opinion of them change? Does your mind process them differently upon seeing their chosen form of expression in their body art?

The_Tattoo_Project_07 The_Tattoo_Project_8 The_Tattoo_Project_9 The_Tattoo_Project_10 The_Tattoo_Project_13 The_Tattoo_Project_15

In 2012, a book was published called, The Tattoo Project: Body, Art, Image and Kovats’ project is specifically titled, “Uncovered.” Each project in the book is also a fascinating look at the creativity, vision and unique styles of each of the 12 photographers. A Kickstarter campaign will be launching June 1st to raise money to fund a documentary about the project.

To read more about The Tattoo Project, click HERE. To see more of Spencer Kovats’ work, check out his website.

CREDITS: Photographs by Spencer Kovats are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[via My Modern Met]

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Tim

    Being tattooed, and having worked in the business – the stereotype is generally void in my head unless I can directly see a Nazi or gang tattoo. I feel that it accentuates a person’s personality when revealed – more free-spirited if you will.

    Like what WJP said, I do wish that they were a bit more covered up but I think it’s overall a fun series :).

    | |
  2. wjp

    While I find it to be a perplexing contradiction, I do have a perception issue with the tattooed among us. Anyone who, successful or not, chooses to practice an art form is very likely to appreciate other art forms. Tattoo is certainly an artform, but it isn’t one that I’d be part of myself either as an artist or canvas.

    That being said, several of these picture pairs weren’t really covered and then revealed. The ones that had complete coverage were the sources of the most dramatic perception changes for me. The ones that weren’t didn’t offer the same opportunity for introspection.

    | |
    • Hanssie

      I agree. Those that had visible tattoos became the stereotype for me, even after I looked back and studied the ‘before’ photo. But some, wow, I certainly was surprised. Though, even for myself personally, I sometimes forget that I have tattoos until someone asks about them. Most people are surprised because I seem “so conservative.”

      Thanks for commenting :)

      | |
    • Reynardt

      Totally agree with you WJP! As a creationist, I don’t believe Tattoos are a sin nor evil as some believe. I’ve seen some damn amazing work, but I’ll never have myself painted as I love my skin’s natural, erm, state. People are and will always be judged for Tattoos, so in the professional world, its a huge problem.

      | |