Posted on June 20, 2015 by Anna Griffiths
Growing up, my mother had always warned me against tattoos and piercings. She alleged it would affect people’s opinions of me and deem me unemployable. However around my college, a place where everyone seems so career orientated, finding someone with body modifications is not a hard thing to do.
It struck me that maybe tattoos and piercings aren’t just a sign of rebellion or defiance as my mother portrayed, but more a means of thoughtful self-expression. When asking people their reasons behind their body artworks many had very profound rationale. Many had tattoos in memory of a loved one, or ones that were the same as a best friend, or were simply just something they wanted to do for themselves and no one else.
One person, when asked, explained how her tattoo reminded her to not take life too seriously. With the pressures of Ivy League life she had always got lost in the day-to-day stress. However her tattoo was to remind her that she still needed to have fun – that college isn’t just about the GPA but the entire experience of discovering new things outside of academic life. It reminded her to let go from time to time. Another explained that she had her piercings ‘Just because I can, before I have to get serious with my life’.
These interactions were the inspiration for this project. I, someone who has never imagined of getting anything more than my ears pierced once, was fascinated of the bold moves of my friends to mark their bodies forever. I wanted to explore and capture, not only the final ‘piece’, but also the process (and pain) of getting there.
My mother’s opinion on body modifications I now think is a bit outdated. Tattoos and piercings, whilst permanent, are not a sign of insurrection and disorder in one’s life, but can provide a beauty and meaning which is inadequately embodied in less permanent forms of Art.
Photography and Text by Anna Griffiths, Copyright 2015.
Photography and Text by Anna Griffiths, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Anna Griffiths is a junior exchange student from Scotland enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania. To read additional articles by Anna Griffiths, go to the search bar at the bottom of the page, type in author’s name: click the search icon.