Check out this short article and slideshow about western women and the tattoo at The New Yorker. The article reviews the new, updated edition of Margot Mifflin’s book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. It looks like a really interesting book, but I feel like it needs to be said that rather than being “a cultural history, with photographs of tattooed women and female tattoo artists through the ages” it appears to be a work that discusses tattoos and tattooing among white women from the middle 19th century and beyond. Women all over he world have been getting tattooed for thousands of years. Regardless, I’m still excited to check this out!
Old and busted - my first tattoos. When asked I often make up what these say (favorites include ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘youthful indiscretion’). In reality they mean ‘snake’ (got that when I was 14) and ‘tortoise’ (done when I was 15) - what that meant to me 15 years ago has kind of evaporated over time.
It makes me smile when someone can actually read them because it puzzles them even more. There was a period of time when I hated talking about these tattoos; now I love them because their original meaning is no longer relevant so I am free to reinvent what they are as I please. I briefly considered removing them or covering them with something else, but in the end have opted to let them fade and age as I do. After all they are a part of my story, why change them?
In the spirit of the blog, about me:
Location - Chicago
Type of repository - Library and Archives in the private sector
Position title - Director of Library and Archives
That’s all for now - at some point I will get some decent photos of my other work (not easy when you always play the role of the photographer and the bulk of your work is on your back). In the meantime be sure to submit your tattoos!
Since we haven’t had any librarian or archivist tattoo submissions in a while I figured I’d fill the gap with some literary tattoo sites (break out those cameras!). Happy viewing!
Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos
The Word Made Flesh
Bookworms With Ink
Remember to send in your photos!
Position title: New archives grad currently working tech support to pay the bills.
Type of repository: I’ve had a bit of experience interning at academic archives and special collections, a bit of experience on research projects. Ideally I’d like to work in archives and special collections, but I’m also interested in science/medical librarianship (and just about everything else).
Location: Boston, MA
This was my undergraduate graduation present to myself. The blue lotus on my back represents the ephemeral and illusive nature of existence. Yes, this was during my pretentious writer hipster phase. Photo courtesy of my good friend AJ Kane. Additional context here.
I got this before I went to library school to remind me that no matter how dark and how lost I get, I can always find my way back home. These little symbols are on white paint on the roads in Portland to show bicycle routes. No matter how dark it was outside or no matter how turned around I got, if I saw them on the road, I would eventually find my way home. Photo courtesy of my shaky hands and a digital camera my uncle got me one Christmas. Additional context here.
Hey all. Just to get the ball rolling on this space, I would like to share some thoughts about how to go about submitting photos in a way that you feel comfortable.
Depending on the institution that you work in you may feel that posting to this blog would be chancy due to anti-tattoo policies or corporate image standards. If that is the case feel free to post only closeups of your work to preserve your anonymity. I would also be happy to have submissions emailed to me if you do not want to post from an account tied to your name. If that’s the case, DM me for contact info.
Another concern that I saw on feedback seemed to mirror how I generally feel about posting photographs of my ink online - there can be a fear that showing what you have increases the risk that someone might rip it off. If that is a concern I would recommend being photographed from a distance that allows viewers to get an idea of what your style is while not giving such a close up view that the details of the piece are easily duplicated. Sometimes the real beauty in tattoo photography is seeing the overall effect that the work has on someone’s look rather than the execution of any one design.
I hope to hear from you soon, and, more importantly, see what you have to show!
Welcome tattooed librarians, archivists, curators, and the people who love them. We are now accepting submissions to be included in this community blog. Please submit 1-2 photos of your ink with a mind towards keeping things as work friendly as possible. Bonus points for photos of your tattoos taken in library, archives, or museum collections spaces.
I would like to borrow a page from Librarian Wardrobe by asking that you to include some basic information with your submissions, namely: