Photography can take you places you’ve never visited and lets you meet people you won’t even thought have existed. This is exactly what happened to British photographer Cedric Arnold while on assignment in Bangkok as he covered the country's tattoo culture.
Tattooing is art. Only, instead of using a canvas and brush as the medium, you use ink and skin. Modern tattooing practices are often commercial and aesthetic in nature; but British photographer Cedric Arnold found out that there are more to tattoos than just the flair of having skin art.
Arnold’s series “Yantra: The Sacred Ink” consists of 54 large format photographs of tattooed men and women in Bangkok. The photographs document Thailand’s deep connection to tattooing and the tradition behind each piece of skin art.
The photographer carefully documented the intricate ritualistic tattooing process – from the blessing of the tattoos to the actual tattooing itself. Arnold’s gritty monochrome photographs reveal a different side of Thailand’s tattoo tradition. His powerful images also come with stories from the monks who do the tattooing as well as from the men and women who bear the sacred skin art.
Even though Arnold’s photographs are focused on Thailand’s tattoo culture, they are also given a human element by the people involved. Some of Arnold’s subjects consist of a Muay Thai fighter, a soldier, a construction worker, and a shipyard worker who was covered in tattoos from head to toe.
You can see more of photographer Cedric Arnold’s work on his site.