23.11.13

Tattooed Lady



Tattoos:  a form of self expression going back to Ötzi and probably beyond, considered by some cultures to be sacred art, and in others a taboo.

Here's to some gals who blazed the trail for the modern day Tattoo Lady...


Ever seen the television show 'Hell on Wheels'?  It's a good one and Vague recommend viewing.  If you do catch an episode, you'll notice a character who's appearance is based on our first lady, here:

{above:  Olive Oatman, 1858. After her family was killed by Yavapais Indians, on a trip West in the eighteen-fifties, she was adopted and raised by Mohave Indians, who gave her a traditional tribal tattoo. When she was ransomed back, at age nineteen, she became a celebrity. -via }
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Nora Hildebrandt, circa 1880s; she was America's first tattooed circus attraction, taking her cue from Olive Oatman and claiming to have been kidnapped and forcibly tattooed by savage natives. }
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Maud Wagner, c.1911; first tattoo artist in the U.S.  Looks like she's got a couple kills under her belt..}
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{ Anna Mae Burlington Gibbons, c1920s; circus attraction and touring artist with hubby Charles (Chas.).  Those leg pieces are super impressive.   }
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{ Bobbie Libarry, 1976. [P]hotographed by Imogen Cunningham. Libarry was an attraction turned tattooist in San Francisco. The ninety-three-year-old Cunningham, who photographed the eighty-three-year-old Libarry in a hospital, thought this was one of her best portraits. It was also one of her last, taken just months before she died. -via }

• all photos and info via the New Yorker's A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, January 16, 2013. •

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... and because it just wouldn't be fair to deny our brothers in ink:  here are a few of them, too.










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