Project Skin Deep: Tattooed Bodies Fronting The Fashion Scene

Xavier in Fashion

Photographer Danny Baldwin exhibits the body art of many professional tattooed models to celebrate the self-expression of models.

Skin Deep is a project started by a London-based photographer named Danny Baldwin. The main objective behind the series is for the sole purpose of illustrating the rise of tattooed individuals in the professional modelling scene and in high fashion. Gone are the days when models are supposed to be blank canvases to be draped by designer clothing and layers of makeup.

Professional modelling may not be about expressing yourself, rather it's the complete opposite. It's about representing a brand with your body. But these heavily tattooed men gracing print ads and strutting on the runways for some of the most prestigious fashion brands in the world are playing the game right without losing sense of singularity and ability to express themselves without opening their lips.

Skin Deep project
Skin Deep project

Armed with a team of talented individuals whose goal is to make their tattooed subjects as fierce in ink as possible, Danny set out to work on his most explosive project yet in the course of twelve months.

Tattooed model
Tattooed model

The models were asked to pose in unconventional poses; making the most out of as far as their bodies will allow them to expose their body art. In the Skin Deep clip above, you may also notice how the models seem to unleash their wild side and let loose, feeling comfortable in their own, naked skin.

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Skin Deep project
Skin Deep project

Tattooed male models from Versacé to Vivienne Westwood were chosen to take part in the project, showing how “alternative” models are no longer stuck to generic “alternative” model work.

Photo by: Danny Baldwin
Photo by: Danny Baldwin

Although tattoos are mainly a part of the models' individuality, most fashion brands treat body art as purely decorative elements to bring out the most in their materials. Some would describe tattoos as fashion's “fetish” as tattoos will always have that certain feel to them, giving the wearer some sort of edge. That's what designers usually go for.

Skin Deep project
Skin Deep project

“With Skin Deep I want to show a wider audience something that is visually stimulating and celebrates how these people are breaking the mould of what others think by being true to themselves in an elite industry and expressing who they are through the medium of tattooing,” says Danny.

Tattooed model, photo by: Danny Baldwin
Tattooed model, photo by: Danny Baldwin

“With just a lens between them and me, and stripped of the character that a designer’s clothing demands, each tattoo is specific, personal and unique to the bearer, chosen by the model to say something special about themselves.”

Tattooed model
Tattooed model

Danny has already given us a few sneak peaks to the photo exhibition in his social media accounts, making us sponged for more.

“I wanted to break tradition with the usual portrait formats that you see in exhibitions, and recreate something that pays tribute to the digital media platforms that have pushed my work into the public domain,” says Danny.

Tattooed model
Tattooed model

“The resulting images are as much about resistance as exposure, the model determines how much, or little, of themselves they give over to the camera. They explore how tattoos can give a true insight into a person’s inner self, or can be used as armour to protect the bearer from those who can’t get past judging what’s on the surface.”

Artsy photoshoot by Danny Baldwin
Artsy photoshoot by Danny Baldwin

The entire Skin Deep project is currently self-funded by Danny and his team. They hope to raise enough funds to make the future exhibits and  prints possible.

“Over the past few years I started to notice a marked change in the models who worked in front of my camera. In just a short space of time they changed from being fresh faced and clean cut blank canvases, to the sort of models usually referred to as alternative - individuals with an edge of defiance, whose tattoos represent the ownership they have over their bodies.” – Danny Baldwin on Skin Deep

Photo by: Danny Baldwin
Photo by: Danny Baldwin

You may support the Skin Deep Kickstarter campaign here.

People like Danny and his team are what the tattoo and fashion scene needs to ignite the masses' appreciation and thirst for ink.

Photo by: Danny Baldwin
Photo by: Danny Baldwin

Follow Danny on Instagram. Visit his website here.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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