česky | english

The idea to create a project dealing with the tattoo, called TATTOO NAMES, I wore in my head for some time. At first I was at my friends admired their often very artistic creations, later I became interested in the reasons which led them to let someone „paint“ on their body  that particular image.

Paradoxically the main trigger moment that I began with the actual implementation was rather hateful post by Ivana Ashby (hereafter IA) on the blog iDNES. People with tattoos are subscribed there as the lowest class, as someone abnormal. I quote IA: „A normal person does not need to get tattooed, storming something in your nose or chest or somewhere else.“

I have been photographing professionally for over twenty years, so I decided to refute IA her claim that these people are uneducated, and incapable of living somewhere on the fringes of society, by the most natural way for me – photographs.

First, it was important to find the objects for photographing. It was important for me to have the widest possible scope of professions, so in my photos you can find clerk of the municipal office, but also the father in the household or the director of the largest incinerators in CR next to skateboard legend and journalist and professional thaiboxer.

I invited experienced tattooer and artist Jiří „VOKY“ Vokálek and experienced graphic designer Jan Prell to collaborate with me. Realization of web sites is being dealt by Jan Radl. These pages are a sort of „prequel“ for art exhibition itself, where I´ll introduce the whole TATTOO NAMES story.

During the shooting I managed to look into the lives of a dozen people (some of whom became my friends) through the eye of the camera. And because of the originally planned two weekends of studio photography the work at TATTOO NAMES stretched into several weeks (maybe in the future months, maybe years) I welcome the support by Jägermeister brand, without which I could hardly devote so much time to finding the most interesting stories. Indeed those captured in his photographs spends weeks or months with their tattoo artists and often meet from time to time for several years, whenever they feel that something has happened, what needs to be recorded in the visual chronicle of their lives. Jägermeister is a brand that practiced a little bit different way of marketing for a long time on the Czech market, and when I talked with them about supporting my project TATTOO NAMES, I discovered that their thinking into the overall design fits my concept. They are consistent in their work and building awareness of the Call of the Wild as well as I am consistent in the process, from the birth of my idea to its realization.

I’ll be happy when even you become interested by my efforts and through photographs, storyboards and texts to photos I´ll save for the exhibition itself, which are not descriptions but rather small private stories where you´ll become acquainted with the people for whom such image tattooed on their shoulder is not only momentary reckless caprice. With people, who in turn carefully consider each step and their tattoo is for them a way to record what they live for, what they love, where and which way are directed.

František Ortmann

V Praze dne 11.11. 2011