A few years back I found myself looking at one of those ribbons on the back of a car that said "support our troops" and wondered what I could do to actually "support our troops" rather than just putting a magnet on my car. Soon after I met a WWII veteran with a tattoo of a paratrooper on his arm and I asked him about it. For the next two hours he told me about parachuting into France on D-Day, being wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, getting tattooed in Scotland while drunk -- I realized that nobody had asked him about it before and that we were losing these stories, so many of which had a significance so personal you may not be able to tell just looking at them, you had to ask.
War Paint is a collection of portraits and stories, there are also closeups of tattoos if you're interested in closeups of tattoos.
Click to read Nick's story
Thanks to everybody in uniform and especially the people overseas away from their families, in harms way, whether in uniform or not. Come home safe. And thanks to my publisher, Schiffer Books who saw something here. Happy Memorial Day.
And, in case you missed it, here's the talk I did at Franklin & Marshall college on War Paint. There's a long wonderfully flattering introduction, student Ann Leffel talks briefly about her tattoo photography project and I start about 12 minutes in. And I do answer the question "why should you thank a soldier if you're against the war?" which is something someone brought up here a few weeks ago.
I'd love it if you'd share with your friends.
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