Joe Longo is a Philadelphia based freelance creative photographer who is behind all of these amazing photographs featuring my two favorites - tattoos and yoga.
His photography focuses on mostly the Health and Wellness industry, that also sums up perfectly his passion for creative portrait work, using natural light. Joe is definitely not missing out on big imagination and creativity- this is exactly what strives him to create perfect images that make you look twice.
I had a wonderful chance to talk to Joe and ask him some questions about him and his interesting Tattooed Yoga Project. In the end of the interview I asked Joe to pick one or two of his fav tattoos of the yogis he has worked with but instead of that, he decided to select some of his favorite tattoo photos especially for Tattoodo's blog. You can see the images below- hopefully, Joe's amazing work will inspire you all! I know it inspired me!
"It takes courage to begin a yoga practice, and courage to put art on your body forever"
How did the idea for the Tattooed Yoga Project come up? What inspired you to do this?
"I would love to say that it was some kind of life-changing event, but it was not. In reality, it all came from a conversation with some tattooed yoga friends about photographing a group of tattooed yogis", said Joe.
Picking up from that idea, Joe created a Facebook event and invited all the tattooed yogis out there to join them. The event was really successful, just over two days in July 2014 Joe photographed 40+ tattooed yogis. "After the first day of shooting, I knew we were onto something special", he added and it did pay off- Joe got an eight-page feature in Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, a solo show in Philadelphia, PA and three of his images were displayed in Time Square, NYC with the SeeMe global art installation. He feels that the project took on a life of its own and adds: "since then I've been trying to stay out of its way".
Why yoga and tattoos - is there any special connection?
Joe explains that at first the idea of Tattooed Yoga Project was just to create with friends, but as he started working on it, he realized that both yoga and tattoos are two extremely old traditions that, by some, are also very misunderstood. He believes that both take a large amount of courage and adds: "it takes courage to begin a yoga practice, and courage to put art on your body forever".
Could you describe shortly how does it work and who can participate?
Participation in this project is actually quite simple- you need to have a yoga practice and a tattoo. "You don't need to be a yoga teacher or a super advanced practitioner. Same with tattoos, no need to be covered in tattoos, as long as you have one you can be part of the project", he adds.
"The goal is to publish a coffee-table book along with a solo gallery show"
What happens with the images you take?
Joe explains that everyone participates receives images he has taken and will have at least one image added into the Tattooed Yoga Project website gallery. He adds: "Everyone that participates in the project receives all of the low resolution watermarked images and two high-resolution digital images". I personally find the goal super interesting- Joe is working towards publishing a coffee-table book along with a solo gallery show. Can't wait for that to happen!
Have you thought of expanding and perhaps organizing the project in Europe or in other parts of the world?
I'm living Europe myself and of course had to ask whether I could expect that project to expand across the ocean, but I found out that the project is community donation based and travelling would be just a bit too tricky at the moment. "If we succeed with our goal maybe we can work on a trip to Europe. Or if anyone would like to get me to Europe, I won't say no", says Joe.
"After spending two days with so many tattooed yogis I felt the need to get something that meant something to me"
Do you personally have any tattoos?
Joe also revealed that he has two tattoos himself, one of which is closely related to his project. The first tattoo he got was back in 1996 without any significant meaning. He added that the second one happened about two weeks after the first tattooed yoga photo session- "After spending two days with so many tattooed yogis I felt the need to get something that meant something to me.
I reached out to my friend Jenn Kakoyannis and told her I wanted a Polynesian design with waves, arrows, and diamonds". Joe admits that he is kind of addicted now and already thinking about the design of his next tattoo. Who said that tattoos are not addicting?!
"My tag line is Capturing the Light within"
How would you best describe your photography?
Joe selects three words to describe his work - vibrant, filled with life and love. I couldn't agree more! "My tag line is Capturing the Light within. It's my goal to capture the true essence of my subject and share their light with the world", he added.
He has been working on the Tattooed Yoga Project for three years now and isn't stopping here. I couldn't find a better way to celebrate the beauty of life.
This goes to all the fans of tattoos and yoga from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania- Joe will be shooting for Tattooed Yoga Project September 25th in Times Square, NYC. More info about registration can be found here.