Ink Girls: Stunning Photos Of Women Who Challenge Convention

Photographer Dina Litovsky doesn’t have any tattoos herself, but that didn't keep her from recognizing the beauty she found at the New York City Tattoo Convention in 2014. Litovsky spent three days photographing the women who attended in a photo series called Ink Girls.
“It’s a lot of people — it looks like hundreds and hundreds in the same space. People are getting tattooed on the spot, so you can have about 50 people in little cubicles getting tattooed,” she described. “It’s a social event, but it’s also very much for artists, [who] come from all over the world. You can just choose an artist on the spot and reserve a place in line.”
Litovsky photographed women with a variety of tattoos that she found visually interesting, taking them aside and asking each one to show her favorite tattoo. “I wanted the women to be relating to the camera, and confronting the viewer,” she said. “[They were] proud to show it to the camera, because some of them were working in jobs, like teachers or assistants, where tattoos had to be covered. It’s still kind of socially looked down upon for women.”
Despite what trendier neighborhoods of Brooklyn might suggest, the cultural taboo against inked-up women is still strong, even today. Litovsky was startled by some of the responses to her series. “A lot of people would stereotype girls by types of tattoos... There was this tendency to place people in a social class, or attribute character traits, depending on what kind of tattoo a person has.” She followed up Ink Girls with another series called Under the Needle, showing people getting tattooed without showing the tattoo itself and putting the focus back on the individual rather than the ink.
“I wanted [the subjects to] come out strong and very aware of the camera and being photographed,” she said. “The best part was how happy these women were to show off their tattoos... There was a lot of pride.”

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