Skin deep – Looking Beyond the Tattoos

01skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoos

Photographer Steven Burton spent over 400 hours in Photoshop removing tattoos that covered former LA gang members. The emotional series, Skin Deep: Looking Beyond Tattoos, is to humanize a group of people who are stereotyped because of their tattoo-covered body.

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“When I started Skin Deep I had a simple concept: take portraits of heavily tattooed ex-gang members and remove the tattoos using digital re-touching to create before and after portraits.”

“Most of the homeboys/girls hadn’t seen themselves without tattoos for decades, so during the interviews I presented the images. There was a deep emotional response by the subjects.

02skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoosMarcos Luna

They revealed very personal sometimes shocking details about the abuse, violence and drug addiction they had suffered for most of their lives.”

With help from the Homeboy Industries in downtown Los Angeles, they fought against the odds to find something better; hope.  This book puts a very human face on a group of people that our society is so often too quick to demonize.

03skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoosVinson Ramos

04skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoosFrancisco Flores

05skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoosSamuel Gonzalez

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07skin-deep-looking-beyond-the-tattoosDavid Pina

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