has been marking the body with tattoos and scars for over 5,000 years.
The ancient mummies of Siberia, Egypt, & the glaciers of the Tyrolian Alps,
all have examples of significant body tattooing. Tattooing and marking the
body has been prevalent in every wave of human evolution since we stepped
from the stone age up to modern society.
There is a powerful renaissance
of traditional tribal tattooing taking place throughout indigenous cultures
around the planet today. From the islands of the Polynesian South Pacific,
to tribal groups of Africa - there is a resurgence of the marking of the
body as a sign of traditional initiation and ritual. As tribal cultures begin
to re-establish their identity in a post-colonial environment, they are reaching
back into their past for ways to re-establish their identity for the future.
One such way is, as their ancestors did, to mark the body with a tattoo or
In conjunction with this renaissance is an absolute explosion of the
art of tattooing in modern western culture. From the street Gangs of East
Los Angeles, to shopping malls of middle America, to the Modern Primitive
movement started in the Height & Asbury community of San Francisco, to
the maori gangs of Auckland, New Zealand - the marking of the body has arrived
as a significant movement in a 21st century modern society.
traces the use of marking the body with tattoos & scars throughout the
globe, including within our modern Western society. The project is a culmination
of seven years of travelling and photographic documentation to six continents,
and over thirty countries. The book takes the viewer beyond the cultural
stereotypes of tattoos merely as a fad, or done only by criminals, sailors,
and motorcycle gangs. But rather into the marking of the body as a powerful
gesture by every culture, every tribal and modern society to establish a
unique identity within the community.
Whether to signify one has moved from
childhood into adulthood, or adulthood into warrior status—humans have
a need to belong to a special and often elite group. Whether it be the Japanese
Ikuza Mafia, or the Mursi tribes of Ethiopia, or even adults found yearly
at The Burning Man Festival in the desert of Nevada—humans need to
mark their bodies and belong to a human group.
The book ANCIENT MARKS picks
up where various other tattoo books have left off, in that they show only
modern western pop cultural tattooing. This book examines the roots of why
mankind marks the body, as seen in the vast examples of traditional cultures
scattered around the planet—and explores examples in haunting and mysterious
black and white images that provoke the viewer to ask why do we mark our
bodies, and why has mankind done so since the dawn of civilization.