Social media is a strange animal, particularly Instagram. The square, small format of a phone screen is less then ideal for viewing tattoos in many ways. It’s great that new tattoos and artists portfolios are so instantly accessible to millions of people. I find it a shame though that less people actually print photos and it seems like not as many clients even look through portfolios at the shop anymore. By the time most clients come in to meet an artist they have seen hundreds, if not thousand of little square photos of their tattoos online. I’ve also found that larger tattoos on arms or back lose some power in such a small format. Scale is another issue. There have been many times when I’ve seen a tattoo in real life that I had previously seen on Instagram, only to realize that the tattoo is much larger (or smaller) then I originally thought. This is because when the tattoo is so zoomed in on, in an attempt to fit it all into the square format, you lose all sense of reference. Is that a thigh or an arm? An ankle or a side? I think in an attempt to show every perfect line and how ever color is super saturated we sometimes lose the big picture, figuratively and literally. Some times artists also crop in an attempt to eliminate other tattoos that they haven’t done out of the frame. But I think the tattoo we do should add to that persons over all collection and how the tattoo you’ve done fits into the collection should be taken into consideration as well.
Lately I’ve been trying to take a few different pictures of each tattoo and the client who wears it, how they wear it, and sometimes a little of the persons personality. More portraits of the clients then the tattoos maybe. It’s just an idea I have that I’d like to play with a little in the future. So when your tattoo is complete and I’m in a hurry to bandage you up, remind me to step back and think of the big picture.