Tattoo + You, A Photo Story of Body Ink features Elena.
In her words:
“I was immediately interested when the opportunity arose to share my tattoo stories in this project. When I was a kid, I saw the most tattooed people on earth in the Guiness World Records and Kat Vod on Miami Ink—to get my own tattoos became my goal.
I was raised in a semi-conservative household where tattoos were frowned upon. When I expressed my desire to get tattooed I was met with disapproval and negative comments. What about your wedding day? Men don’t like girls with tattoos. You will regret them. Over my years of getting tattooed, I can say that none of these are true for me! My partner loves my ink, even though he doesn’t have any himself.
I got my first tattoo at 18. I went with something small—a bible verse and cross on my wrist to ease my mom into it. It’s a cross wrapped in pearls with the verse “1 John 4:18.” I was hooked! I went on to tattoo my chest with a sparrow (for a charity event) and script from Bob Marley, “No woman, no cry.”
People often ask, “What do your tattoos mean?” For me, a lot of them don’t have any particular meaning; the art just resonated with me at that moment in my life. Tattoos are my love of art immortalized on my body. What better appreciation of art than to wear it on your skin for life?
However, some do have meaning. The butterflies on my arm are for my mother because they have always been symbols of hope for her. On my inner arm, I have a honey bee on a honeycomb to symbolize a time in my life when I was a workaholic. I plan to cover the rest of my back and complete my sleeve as my life ebbs and flows. The themes will change and my love of art and tattoo design will only continue to expand and grow.”
Tattoo + You, A Photo Story of Body Ink began as a book 10 years ago. The project continues online today. If you would like to participate in this project, please send a message below: