Sandi Fellman’s The Japanese Tattoo

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Sandi Fellman’s intense crops of Irezumi tattooed skin appear as neither portraits of tattooed people or of the work of the tattoo artists in her famed book The Japanese Tattoo but seem like endlessly beautiful paintings of prints. Deciphering which part of the body Fellman’s lense captures is not always instantly recognisable in these truly beautiful photographs of living pieces of art. Parts of the body intertwine with one another page after page with hardly any of the skin untouched. Taken with a rare large scale Polaroid camera the enormity of these original images are almost life-size meaning the details that are captured in these images are completely exceptional.The starkness and intensity of colour paired again the black background exaggerate these tattoos to another level. First published in 1987 the book has sort of cult following in its insight to the super secretive lives of these tattooed people. Although it doesn’t expand too much on the history, meaning or tradition it does provide an insightful look into the skill behind these wonderful tattoos.

 

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