22 Tantalizing Photos of Tattoos

Tattoos are painful. They're also beautiful—an aesthetic commitment that someone chooses to adopt forever. And in photography, they can make a wonderful bridge between the human form and the artistic touch.

WINNER: Personal Compass


Camera: Olympus E-500 ISO 400 f/3.5 1/400 sec I took my son to the beach later in the late afternoon on Labor day. I had brought along my camera in hopes of getting something for the contest. I didn't get much that I liked but ended up taking a bunch of pictures of my son. After a while he wanted to get his feet wet so went stood on the shore and let the waves rush over our feet. I wanted to get a picture of our bare feet with the waves lapping them. I took dozens of shot trying to time it just right all the while keeping him from deciding to sit down in the water and hoping to get everything in focus. As I looked through them last night I really liked this shot, especially the way my hand steadying him is in focus. My son has Down Syndrome so my wife and I spend a lot of time encouraging him to push himself but also lending him a little support. Since it has a tattoo in it I figured what the hell. I hope everyone had a good Labor Day.

- Adam Marksteiner


I'm a long time follower of Gizmodo and love these photo contests and their entries and when I saw this weeks theme, I knew the exact person to ask. Recently, a good friend of mines just got her tattoo and has been eager to take some photos. At first, when I asked if she was going to color it soon, she said 2 few weeks and that was too late. I wasn't going to submit, but then realized that it would be nice in b/w too. I've tried low-key photography once before and thought it would be interesting to try again. It was a nice to get out and shoot again, especially for a Gizmodo photo contest and my friend. Equipment: Canon 60D Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L Canon EX580 (2) Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 Settings: ISO: 100 Focal length: 70mm Aperture: F/4.0 Shutter speed: 1/400

- Ren Shiroma

Ganesha In Sunglasses


Ganesha in front of Buddha Once I saw this challenge I knew what I wanted to do. My good friend there Javier Comas has a cool tattoo of Ganesha. The color of the Ganesha reminds me of this Buddha I had seen in the street art/graffiti section of Wynwood (midtown Miami). I thought it would be cool to include the different deities with similar coloring. I'll be going out of town this weekend so I had to rush & ask my friend here to meet me at the site so I could photograph then submit the entry. Canon T1i Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens shutter 1/3200 ƒ/2.5 ISO 100 50 mm

- Javier Valencia



Taken of my self, by myself, in front of an abandoned Best Buy. Metal wings were done over 2 years ago and took 27 hours. Taken with my Canon T2i using my IR remote on some tripod i found that looked like it was 100 years old.

- David Doty

Self Control


Shot with Canon 60D, Canon 50mm f/1,8. Iso 800, f/2.0, 1/100s He's my best friend and his tattoo, wich he made a few years ago after injuring himself due to a momentanoeus loss of control. So he decided to carve on his body a perpetual reminder to never do it again. It was hard to convince him to take some photos, he hates them, and probably he will bring it up until i die. But i think i was able to capture his resolution, his perseverance that he puts in everything he does, and that repays me of every effort.

- Francesco Lorenzin

Phoenix Rising


After seeing this challenge I immediately called up my most tattooed friend and convinced her to be my model for this shoot. We had a great time drinking and coming up with interesting ways to show off her epic phoenix. I used my Nikon D5100 with a 55-300mm lens to get a good blurred background and we took off outdoors for a fun natural light photo shoot. In the end this shot was our favorite so I enhanced the color a little bit in post to make the colors really pop and added a vignette. The phoenix was done by Jack from Fate Tattoo in Ohio.

- Shawn Baird

Beach Bloom


This shot was taken at Key Biscayne Beach in Miami, Florida. I used my Nikon D90 with the 85mm 1.8g lens along with Alien Bee strobe and the PLM system . It was taken in Raw and retouched in Photoshop. Settings: f/2.5 @320. ISO200.

- Carlos Garrido



When I saw this competition announced I immediately had a friend and concept in mind. I wanted to capture his tattoos in a simple way with very little distractions. The idea and image in my head is very close to the end result I achieved. I have been doing photography for nine years now. Nikon D600 ISO 320 24-85mm Aperature: F3.3 1/80 s

- Maegan Harless

Sky God


I told my friend about the shooting challenge while we were out boating this weekend. He has a colorful and interesting tattoo that I wanted to grab a picture of for it. I think the light rays shining through the clouds and his pose are fitting for the imagery of the tattoo. Shot with a Sony NEX-5R and kit 18-55mm, ISO100, f/7. I did some exposure and color adjustments in Lightroom.

- Jerad Cook

The Friend Is Still Here


An amazing friend of mine wanted her tattoos shot before, "she got old and they look like shit," so I shot her. The GF didn't like it, but sometimes you need to sacrifice everything for art...The GF is gone and the friend is still here. 1/250, f/3.2, ISO 200, 45mm (24-70mm L), 5DmII

- Aaron Meyers



Yesterday, my friend who is a young tattoo artist found out about your project and told me about it, so i used him as my muse and object. His girlfriend was his choreographer in the meantime of photoshooting. She also borrowed her hand on few pictures. We shoot in the nature on the castle in Ljubljana. I used Nikon D300, lens 17-50mm ans in ISO 400.

- Anja Gea Sladić

Fantastic entries all around. Thanks to all of our photographers and their willing subjects. Find the big shots on flickr.


Share This Story