"Everybody has them it don't hurt."
It's so nice to have found this amazing photographer. He was a Korean American journalist who emigrated from Seoul in 1963 and set home in Kansas. It was in this state where he developed this touching reportage. Of course the homemade tattoos is what I like but the subjects instantly intrigued me. They are so young and you can tell they were already little badasses.
The images were taken in a low income community named Mulky Square that was being affected by displacement due to the development of a state highway. No wonder the toughness of these kids maybe? The story resonates with me because when I was growing up my grandmother had to leave the property she raised my dad due to the same reason. The local authorities paid my grandma nothing for the beautiful house I misbehaved so many times growing up and a new road was born.
It was in this same house were I first tasted beer to the hands of my father when I was about the same age of that kid in the image above of the dad giving a sip to his son. It was this same house where I first found and took out 2 grown weed plants with my barehands at age 10. The same house my passion for tattoos started while looking at my dad's badass Sailor Jerry tattoos on his back from when he was at the Navy.
I'm interested in the freedom of thought I can sense from the images. How these kids were tattooing themselves. They were just going for it without thinking about a polished design. No machine, just whatever they could invent to poked themselves. They look so free and their mentality blows my mind. How they assured tattoos were painless. You don't get to see that attitude anymore man.
I would love to see how the tattoos look today. What these people may be doing. What's their story now, and how their past influenced the person they are today.
For more images check out my source. It was taken from the American writer Tom Clark's blog Beyond Pale.