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.


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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?

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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]