Map tattoos: geography on the body

Monday, December 14, 2009

When I was in university, a friend of mine wrote a great geography dissertation about tattoos. She imagined the body as a landscape, with tattoos acting as landmarks and inscriptions in the landscape. People wrote their lives on to their skin, tattoos are like maps to their identities.


I really liked the idea. I wondered if people would mark their patriotism on their bodies, with maps or national insignia as tattoos.

Tattoo 4

For years, I've wanted to do a photography project on it, but have always stalled at the idea of finding people to photograph. Recently, I started to explore on flickr, finding these fantastic images.

welcome home

I find it amazing, fascinating and inspiring that people's pride and patriotism lead them to the extent of imprinting maps of their country, state, city onto their skin.


I've created two galleries of these images on flickr: Tattoo Nation I and Tattoo Nation II

(Thanks to flickr users who have given me permission to show their images.)

Mama Africa