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How do you react when strangers ask to photograph your tattoos ?


so this happened the other night at a rock concert...younger chick (she had small sticker and black out tattoos) gets in my face with her iphone and her opening line is:

girl: hey i want to take a picture of your neck tattoo

me: um, no thank you - it's cool if you want to take a closer look but I don't want my picture taken right now. 

girl: well, i work at the counter of a tattoo studio.

me: cool, good for you.

girl: yeah, my tattoo artists wants to give me that exact same tattoo on my neck. so i want to take a picture of yours to show them.

me: excuse me? yeah, no. you can't take a picture of my tattoo.

girl: but, i want to take a picture of your neck tattoo to show him... ~why i shouldn't get it~

me: <<WTF did she just say??>> yknow lady, just get whatever tattoos you want. i'm not the first and not the last to have this imagery. but sorry, you cannot take a photo of mine for your reference.

girl: well, ~i seen ~ some like that on the internet before.

me: great, good for you. i got mine on a trip to Belgium.

girl: <blank stare>

me: it was a really enlightening experience.

girl: so i can't take a picture of it then?

me: no, you can't.

girl: fine. whatever.


Now i've been approached on the beach and on the street before, perhaps people find my tattoo look interesting and i give off a welcoming energy. These are often interactive, friendly and interesting exchanges. I don't mind that ! 

Like, can't we just have a normal conversation, use that to inspire ideas...seriously some people are a bit clueless...... but hey at least she asked ... it's too bad she couldn't just be normal and have an open conversation about tattooing, I'd probably have been less dismissive ... but she came on a bit strong like she was entitled to take a photo of my neck tattoo ... uncool ... end rant...

Anybody else experience the random photograph request ? How do you respond and deal with it ?

Edited by bongsau
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Interesting and creepy experience. 

I cover up most of the time, but sometimes my half sleeves show. I’ve only had two photo requests, and they were quite different. One, a young woman just came up to me at a street arts fair and rather abruptly said “Can I take a picture of your tats?” First of all the word “tats” turned me off immediately, and secondly she already had her phone out like it was a foregone conclusion that I would say yes. I just politely said no, I’d prefer not to have my picture taken. She seemed rather miffed.

The other time, a woman approached me politely after a workout at the gym, asked about my sleeves, and was quite nice and respectful. She asked intelligent, and I think sincere questions, and I answered them to the best of my ability. It was very comfortable, and I voluntarily pulled up my sleeves to show her the extent. At the end, she asked me if she could take a picture. She was very polite, and almost apologetic, and I said yes. 

So for me, it was all about context and feel. I’m pretty private, and this has only happened twice, but I’m more likely to say yes if I judge that the person is sincerely interested, and not just collecting pictures. I’m that way when people ask me about my tattoos. I love to talk about my tattoos if a person is sincerely interested and not creepy. 

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I've had that happen a few times. I just say no and move along. It's weird to ask a stranger to take a photo of a tattoo on their person.

Just this week, a little old lady touched my fresh elbow tattoo and told me how pretty it was. I said thank you, but I told her it's quite new so maybe don't touch? She covered her face in embarrassment and apologized profusely. She was sweet and didn't know better.

Edited by oboogie
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yes, context is everything.

I stand by what I said to this young girl "just get the tattoos you want". who cares. i hope that she heard that, if she was in fact sincere about tattoos. if she does get the same tattoo I wear, well i hope it's done really well and gives her the confidence and exciting feelings it gave me. own it !

everything has been done and reproduced. sure, she might end up with a similar tattoo in the same spot...everything has already been done...but no way is it possible for her to copy my look of (6) neck tattoos unless she wants to recreate the last 6 years of my life.

i feel that the modern-age of internet tattoo picture collecting is feeding into this. Like, everyone is always taking photos of themselves, their surroundings and everything and anything...that we have forgotten etiquette and how to interact with the real world and more importantly each other real-time as people.




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