About We Tattoo

We Tattoo is a photography project by Mirthe van den Berk. All photographs are taken with an Yashica T4 camera with Ilford HP5 Plus film.

“As a girlfriend of a tattoo artist I found myself visiting a lot of tattoo shops and tattoo conventions all over the world. I spent the days talking to all kind of artist and just sitting around a bit. It was very interesting to meet so many different people with a shared love for ink. With WE TATTOO I try to show the faces of all the different people I meet. Photographing them away from their booth or shop in a neutral place just to show the person and nothing more. I visited a lot of conventions before I started WE TATTOO, trying to find something I could do. There were always a lot of photographers taking pictures of the artists at work and of the different tattoos they make. But I find it way more interesting to photograph the person without the work.

I started WE TATTOO at the Frankfurt Tattoo Convention, but after that event, I wanted to quit the project. Back then I was photographing with my big DSLR. The convention was really big and I felt lost with my evenly big camera. I noticed it made people feel very uncomfortable. After this first, rocky start I found my Yashica t4 at home and I thought let me give it one more try! It is a really small camera and with only 36 shots it works good for me. Also I can develop the film by myself and for a control freak like me that is really important. I took my first real shot for WE TATTOO at the Nepal Tattoo Convention 2015. I shot Mohan Gurung just 20 minutes before the earthquake happened.

After studying documentary photography at the Academy of Arts in the Netherlands, I was really lost in this big world where anything could happen. I really enjoy photographing but since I am really shy talking to strangers it never worked for me. With WE TATTOO I force myself to push my own bounderies, talking to strangers, listening to their stories, and then I lose the feeling of it being scary. It has been a great adventure where I got to know so many incredible persons. All with their own story, their own battles, just trying to do what they love – just like me.”

 

With We Tattoo, Mirthe shows the artists behind the tattoo’s. It’s not about their work, their shop. It’s about who they are, as a person. – Kevin Andrade