The first evidence of tattoos dates from the Neolithic period, with indigenous tattoo traditions found in many parts of the world. Since the 1970s, tattoos have experienced a resurgence in popularity in Europe, Japan and America. For many young people, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. It has shifted from being a symbol of deviance or rebellion to an acceptable form of artistic expression.
People get tattooed for many reasons: to pay tribute to a loved one, for attention, to express their creativity, to be rebellious, because it’s in fashion, as part of a spiritual tradition, or sometimes just to be spontaneous. Tattoos are a way for people to create their own identity, to tell their story, and to make themselves feel a little more unique. Their tattoos raise their confidence and make them feel comfortable in their own skin.
These images were taken at the Amsterdam Tattoo Convention 2019. The Convention featured more than 350 tattoo masters from around the world, plus an array of food trucks, a piercing studio, stands selling clothing, jewelry, books, tattoo supplies and artworks, classic rock bands, competitions and even adult cabarets. Large numbers of tattoo enthusiasts came to get inked, to admire the tattoo greats, to display their own tats, and to mingle with their tattooed peers.
If you'd like to see the full series, download the PDF catalogue by clicking here.