With just a little over a week left before his Kickstarter project ends, the photographer opens up about his upcoming coffee table book that centers on a collection of medium format snapshots of tattooed backs of legs of women captured with Diana cameras.
“Tattoos : Legs : Women” is the culmination of five years’ worth of work (on and off) by Los Angeles, California-based photographer Patrick Dinkfeld. As the title implies, the coffee table book features images of tattooed backs of women’s legs that the photographer captured with the Diana+ and Diana F+. The final collection includes 63 photographs, although Dinkfeld hopes to include 10 more before sending the book for printing. The photographer is currently seeking funding for its publication through the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
It was back in 2009 when Dinkfeld took the very first image for this photographic series. The photographer tells Lomography that the idea formed after one of his female friends began sending him “odd” photographs of her daily outfits shot from the hips down, which happened at around the same time he began dating a woman who had many tattoos on her body.
Dinkfeld explains at length, "I loved the anonymous nature of shooting just the legs, and the fact that tattoos are all so personal and identifiable that it automatically retained the identity of these sexy legs and their owners. I thought it was interesting that despite tattoos becoming more and more mainstream and acceptable, women seemed to still cherish their legs as something ultra-feminine.
“In Los Angeles, it is common to see women with tattoos, and even most of the heavily-tattooed models tend to keep the majority of their work on their upper bodies. I found that the legs still retained some sense of normality and femininity. I’m certain I am projecting this perspective onto reality, but that is the artist’s prerogative. Basically, it seemed rare even among the tattooed community,” he says.
Dinkfeld chose to go purely on analogue and medium format as he believed it “would be a very therapeutic and fun experiment in my art.” He used the Diana+ for the first half of the project and the Diana F+ on the other, both of which he had received as gifts. “I hadn’t used film since college, and immediately the dreamy images seemed like a wildly fun medium to use for [taking the images of] the legs!”
Dinkfeld’s subjects are an interesting, diverse mix of professional alternative models and adult performers he had met through casting calls and recommendations, as well as regular individuals he had encountered when he’s out in public. Dinkfeld has a selection of photographs saved on his phone, which he presents to potential subjects “so she could see that I was not just some creepy dude.”
“Most of the women were polite upon my initial approach but they definitely were cautious and skeptical. But as soon as I showed them the images, they usually fall in love with the project and were very happy to participate. I think I only ever had one woman say, ‘No thank you,’” he reveals.
On a lighter side, Dinkfeld adds that the funniest thing was that by the time he was halfway through the project, he had become so accustomed to looking for tattoos “that anytime I would walk past a tattooed woman, I would look behind me as she passed by to see if the backs of her legs were tattooed. people thought I was shamelessly checking out their butts. Professional hazard, I guess.”
Experiences and favorites
Meanwhile, Dinkfeld recalls two amusing incidents that had happened to him during the early stages of his series. Originally, the photographer wanted things “to be more scientific and much more like a documentary,” with the sexy factor “down to a minimum.” But all that changed when he went on his third shoot at the Griffith Observatory in LA.
“[My model and I] finally found each other out in the grassy lawn, and found a place to take photos. The spot was on the side of a very busy hiking trail. As I prepared my camera, she prepared her outfit. I was all set up and ready to shoot, so I told her that I was ready when she was. She then proceeded to remove her sweatpants, revealing the smallest, most amazingly sexy pink glitter bikini bottoms I have ever seen. Immediately we caused a little traffic jam on the hiking trail, and my first thought was, “Well… so much for keeping the ‘sexy’ out of this!” Clearly, I didn’t really mind, but it was really quite funny to me that the models were the ones that made this so sexy and alluring.”
The other incident happened also in LA, at the famous Hollywood Boulevard, and had also caused quite a stir.
“We were shooting on the main strip where all the tourists come to look at the Hollywood sights. It was a weekend evening, so the boulevard was packed with cars and people out on the town partying. I had told my model wear a long, flowing skirt over the top of whatever bottoms she planned to shoot in. That way, when I was ready to take the shot, she could simply pull the skirt up over her head and not have to stand on the boulevard in her underwear.
“So I was laying on the sidewalk, looking through the viewfinder, and my model was repeatedly lifting her skirt up, and the passing cars were honking and cheering for us. And when I looked up from my viewfinder, there were two police officers walking by us [and] looking at us like we were crazy. I thought we were about to get in trouble, but they just kept walking by as if it was [a] totally normal [sight to see at] Hollywood Boulevard,” Dinkfeld shares.
Asked for his favorite image among all in his series, Dinkfeld says he has none although he has his personal top 10. “If I consider the images and the whole experience, I love them all! I’ve fallen in love with every one of my models. Everyone has been so amazing and sweet. Artistically, if I just look at the images as art, I tend to gravitate towards the very colorful images that have a really dreamy feel, and legs that manage to strike a sassy pose with some strong energy and power,” he expounds.
After “Tattoos : Legs : Women,” Dinkfeld aims to start another series. “I am still deciding if I am going to shoot on film or digital, but it will be larger, portrait-based project [featuring] a much larger group of people beyond sexy female models.”
Aside from this, the photographer is also in the process of starting his own modeling agency, Lovelight Models, which he hopes to launch before the summer. “It is a conscious agency representing models that maintain plant-based diets, meditate regularly, and are personally inspired by bringing more love, peace, and understanding to this planet.”
Patrick Dinkfeld is a photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He is also a videographer, graphic designer, drummer, vegan, and meditation teacher. All information and photographs in this article were provided to Lomography by the photographer and used with permission. For more information on “Tattoos : Legs : Females,” please visit the book’s Kickstarter page, website, and the following Instagram accounts: @tattooslegsfemales and @lovelightmagic. Dinkfeld’s Kickstarter project for the book ends in 10 days as of this writing.