Many Hong Kongers donning tattoos tend to keep them under wraps, perhaps due to their jobs or the deeper cultural association between tattoos and the triads. Either way, it’s clear that there are still some negative connotations when it comes to body art – feelings that are only enflamed further when it comes to women who choose to ink up. But one Hong Kong-based photographer is hoping to change all that by exposing the beautiful world of women and tattoos via a brand new project.
Steve ‘Spike’ Schechter, the man behind the Hongkie Town blog, is actively looking for more muses for his Hong Kong Women with Tattoos project. The American photographer has already snapped a decent selection of tattooed local ladies, including Chris B, the head of Underground Hong Kong, and Faye Wan, former lead singer of the band Hazden.
With no fewer than eight tattoos himself, Spike says he is immersed in the culture and fully understands what it means to have ink. All he wants from his models is an equal appreciation of the art.
“I don’t care if the women who model for me are young or old; they don’t need to be ‘model beautiful.’ I don’t care about their ethnic background. I just want to capture their spirit and tell their stories,” explains Spike.
One thing he does have a preference for however is the size of tattoos. “I have no interest in shooting women who just have a flower on their ankle or some squiggle above their waistline. The more ink the better!”
Think Spike may have a hard time finding women in Hong Kong who fit the bill? Think again! Chris Anderson of Localiiz favourite tattoo gurus Tattoo Temple – home to Hong Kong’s Tattoo Godmother Joey Pang – tells Localiiz otherwise.
“Women are not afraid to have larger pieces. We have a number of women clients with full back tattoos or pieces that run from their thigh to the ribs,” Chris says. “Women deal with pain a lot better than the guys and have fewer issues during their sessions.”