Attendees At The 2014 London Tattoo Convention Use Their Bodies As A Canvas

Tattoo conventions are held around the world, and, as the tradition of decorating the skin sees a continued resurgence in popularity, conventions are becoming more and more popular. They’re places for artists and enthusiasts alike to check out new work and even get a souvenir tattoo. Most people with ink remain relatively tame. However, there are also people who love to go all out, and you can find lots of them at conventions.

Photographer Andy Lo Pò attended the London Tattoo Convention this past September and photographed some of the people there. These tattoo-lovers feature work everywhere, even in the places that are still held by most people to be too extreme, such as on their hands, necks and faces. These people are serious about their tattoos, and while heavy tattooing obviously isn’t for everyone, it’s really impressive.

For one thing, considerable skill and training go into good tattoo work. Some artists train for years, on dummies or even fruit, before they’re trusted to touch a human canvas. For another, dedication is required in getting tattooed, as it’s a painful process.

In case you thought tattooing was a modern phenomenon, it dates back thousands of years and has been practiced all over the world. In fact, the word “Britain” stems from a Greek word meaning “people of the design.” Ancient Britons were heavily tattooed.

The black outlines on the right shoulder blade will likely be filled in with color later. Large pieces like this require multiple sessions to complete.

Solid black areas (known as “blackwork”) require many hours of ink application.

This woman has a fresh tattoo, still in its protective bandage, on her hand.

Tattoos don’t have to be colorful for them to be pretty.

Japanese-style tattoos like this often go for full coverage.

This man seems to have wanted to pay tribute to his favorite cultural icons.

Despite her rather severe outfit, this lady’s cutesy tattoos show a softer side.

This half-and-half look affords him the best of both worlds.

This religious-themed tattoo was designed so that Shiva’s bellybutton lines up with the tattoo-bearer’s.

This woman sports a modern take of the classic “pinup” tattoo on her arm.

This style of tattooing is usually referred to as “traditional” or “sailor,” as it was popular among sailors in the early 20th century. Tattoo artists like Norman Keith Collins, better known as “Sailor Jerry.”

This man’s tattoos combine imagery and text.

Hand and finger tattoos like this are usually reserved for people who already have large amounts of tattoos, and for some reason, eyes are a popular choice for the back of the hand.

Talk about dedication. Tattooing is painful anywhere, but the sensitive skin of the lips and around the eyes would take serious stamina.

Tattoos might not be your thing, but they’re a thing for plenty of other people. They take it seriously, so it’s important to respect peoples’ choices.

Via My Modern Met|Andy Lo Pò