Jerome Abramovitch at the Montreal Tattoo Convention [Guest Column]

Jerome Abramovitch
at the Montreal Tattoo Convention

"Good art can not be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise."

- Ezra Pound

Those of you — especially the women reading this — that have been to tattoo conventions know how aggressive the photographers from tattoo magazines can be. Some of them, including some “big name” ones have a reputation for aggressive hounding of women for photos, bordering on both sexual harassment and simply insulting. Those that do agree to go to their room for photos find themselves pressured to take their top off to “better show the tattoo on their wrist”, and when they refuse, find themselves the brunt of insults and sometimes even threats from the photographer’s biker associates.

Clearly BME has an interest in photographing at tattoo conventions, but we didn’t want to become part of a process that in my opinion engenders unhappiness in this community and produces at best snap-shots of tattoos that people could just as easily take at home with their digital camera. Enter Jerome Abramovitch.

(As Jean Cocteau said, “an artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture”, so that’s why I’m writing this introduction, not Jerome.)

I first met Jerome in 1999 when he approached me not as a photographer, but as a performance artist who’d amputated his own finger as art, and held numerous official and unofficial world records for everything from the most play piercings in a session to being perhaps the most heavily voluntarily branded man in the world — some of you may have also seen him on the cover of the ModCon book, or doing his saline performances on various television shows. It was only later that I discovered what a talented photographer he was as well.

At the 2003 Montreal Tattoo Convention in Quebec, Canada, we set Jerome up with a photo booth and he went at the convention as a true artist, with the aim of taking beautiful portraits of the people he encountered, not some cheap thinly-veiled pornography to run in discount magazines advertising “home tattoo kits”. I am very proud to present to you the results of his work — as you can see, his background is first and foremost in portraiture, so more so than snapshots of tattoos, you’ll notice that the focus is on the people. As he told me, “people who happen to have tattoos, but it’s about them, not about the ink on their skin.”

Watch out for Jerome at future tattoo conventions and events shooting for BME. Until then, you can visit his website at where you can contact him about prints, portraiture, or just congratulate him on giving a much needed kick in the ass to the others out there shooting tattoo conventions by showing them a better way to do it. You can also find him on IAM as Jerome.

Shannon Larratt
September 11th, 2003

Text copyright © 2003 LLC, photos copyright © 2003 Jerome Abromovitch. Requests to republish must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published online September 11th, 2003 by LLC in Tweed, Ontario, Canada.

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