Praise to Individuality. London based Photographer Danny Baldwin presents his Skin Deep project.
Danny Baldwin is a photographer who is pushing forward the boundaries of his profession. The exhibition he is about to release is called Skin Deep. His eye captured what fashion seemed to dislike in the past: tattooed bodies.
There are many examples of models that didn't get the job for their inked skin. Danny noticed that in the past 10 years, something was slightly changing, that tattooed models were increasing in number and that some brands started to like what they previously refused. So he asked these young guys what pushed them to tattoo their bodies. The answer was that their "tattoos represent the ownership they have over their bodies". He had an inspiration, he knew he could do a great job by showing that models - people who are paid to become whoever the others want - finally chose to declare their individuality with pride.
I went back to England and I went for the interview for the college course and was told I had no experience and it's a very difficult industry. They told me they would be in touch. I waited and waited and I was told the course was fully subscribed and I hadn't got a place. I was just lost. I had no direction and didn't have any idea what to do next. The course started and on the first day in the afternoon I got a call to say someone had decided to change courses so there was a space available. That's where my journey began.
That's where the project was born, I wanted to stay pure to me and something that was reliable to my everyday life, something I had knowledge over and felt I could say something about that the viewer would be able to see. It's very difficult to create something new in a modern society but I think this project has pulled together a lot of references in a new way to showcase something that has never been done before and to document this movement of the rise of the tattooed male model within a fashion context.
I guess this is because I put a lot of personal shoots out through social media and tend to photograph mainly men for this. I chose men for the project as i have built relationships with a lot of the subjects that fitted my brief for the project and felt it was truer to start with a more personal level so that I could really connect with the project.
Also, I wanted to say something about what is actually going on in the industry and personally I have noticed this rise of the tattooed male model through my working life and so I wanted to document this. There are some amazing image makers out there but for me I had become a little personally deflated by the generic male model stiff posed straight up poses and wanted to challenge myself to come up with interesting compositions of my subjects.
I have tattooed from the inside of my lower lip and the way down to feet and toes and I would be comfortable showing any tattoo to the camera as they all have a huge personal affirmation attached to them (although they do have quite a macabre aesthetic) I don't think it would be fair of me to expect something from a model that I wasn't able to be comfortable with myself.
It is a lot about trust and if I wouldn't showcase my tattoos in that way why would I expect my subject to do so for me? There has to be an exchange of trust.
I just know when I know it's a very personal thing and the process is never the same. I like it that way, it's unexpected and challenging and I think it's healthy to keep evolving in that way.
Social media, virality, technologies that are affordable to the mass: how do you see the future of photography?
I don't have the answer, I think it is amazing that so many people have access to so many mediums now. It's a positive thing, everybody should have the option to explore photography if it's available to them.
I like to think that photography is always developing through technology and that's exciting. Out of all the different mediums that have come and gone image is still here, never replaced and I believe it's here to stay.