When you work in urban design, you sometimes get very passionate about your work making cities better and just loving cities. A few years ago I decided to take a part of a 1910 map of Paris (pre-freeway age) and wrap it around my shoulder. I have a life long relationship with Paris. Not all of it, but parts of it. The parts represented on the map. MY parts.
I love maps. I love cities. I love streets. It was the obvious thing to do. I got it done at Roxy Tattoo in Copenhagen. Roxy was Denmark's first female tattoo artist forty years ago. Now her daughter and granddaughter work there, too. It's so not hipster fancy, thank god. It's down to earth cool.
When I went in to talk about the idea, I also had an idea for a Kirkegaard quote in Helvetica. Roxy's daughter was unimpressed. "Everyone's doing text these days."
Then I showed her the map of Paris and where I wanted it. She was clearly interested. As we discussed it, Roxy herself was inking in the background. She is a gruff woman of few words. I love it. She stopped her work and came over.
"What the hell are you talking about a map?"
Her daughter explained my idea. She listened and just harumphed. "Never seen that before..." and she walked back to her client.
Her daughter was amazed. "Mum... you've done over 20,000 tats and you've never seen a map?!" She was incredulous.
"There was one asshole years ago who got a treasure island map on his stomach. That's it."
Right then and there, I knew I wanted Paris. There were no decent results on Google at that time - 2012. I went for it.
I ended up liking my new tat. Got loads of positive comments. So I decided to expand the concept. I extended it with my favourite street in Montreal - Rue St. Viateur. Or at least the few blocks I like the best. On my map you can ride your bike from the Eiffel Tower to my favourite café - Club Social.
Now I'm going to add sections of my favourite streets in cities all over the world. It won't be a sleeve or a torso tat. Just an extension of the existing one.
A map of my urban world.
Asteroid attack on Rue St Viateur.
Rue St Viateur taking form.
Rue St Viateur - now as permanent sheet design. Oops. Remember not to sleep without the bandage on the first night.
Photography captivates me for many reasons. I have over 20,000 photos on Flickr and I can, on some level, remember them all. Street photography has always been my preferred form. The spontaneousness of it. The stress and creative adrenaline that appears in nanoseconds when a shot appears and the hand reaches instinctively for the camera while the unblinking eyes keep tracking the imminent shot. The "click" or "clicks" are a punctuation mark. A period or an exclamation mark most often, but sometimes a semi-colon, comma or even a question mark that ends the moment that was captured. I dreamt last night about this shot. Who knows why. I have favourites, sure, and this is one of them. But it came to me in a dream. This woman, this moment. I have thought about it all morning. I took it in Berlin in 2007. It was a fleeting moment in Mitte, shot through a café window. There was a relationshp between us - two strangers, photographer and subject - for not more than 3 seconds. Then it was gone. For me, THAT is street photography. Living and creating in fragments of time, in moments of clarity. Fragmented moments that are, however, allowed to live on through photography. Emotions and memories recorded.