Read: March 2019
Format: Physical Book
Rating: 2 Caffeinated Stars
Body Type is an eye-opening look into the amazingly creative ways that tattoo artists are utilizing typography. Whereas the majority of tattoo art uses images to convey messages, here the message actually is the image. Twenty-six alphabetical characters might not seem like much to work with, but a look through these photographs reveals the contrary. Here are truly unique social commentaries, expressions of love, hilarious examples of biting satire, plus some mottos, intricate logotypes, deeply personal song lyrics, and, of course, those tattoos that exist for one reason only: to shock the hell out of you. The crisp photographs are accompanied by an insightful commentary from renowned graphic designer and typographer Ina Saltz, plus consistently surprising and heartfelt explanations from the tattooed.
When browsing in a bookstore years ago, I stumbled upon this book. I’ve always been fascinated by tattoos and their meanings, so this book seemed like it would be perfect for me. Once I brought it home, it sat on my shelf for years. I never could find the time to read it, and I always found a newer book to read. When March was coming to a close, I decided to fit one more book in, and this was the lucky book I settled on because it had a sort of Humans of New York vibe to it.
Body Type by Ina Saltz had an interesting concept to it. I loved that it focused on a variety of typology tattoos. I find that we as a society gloss over the typology and solely concentrate on illustrative tattoos so I loved that this added a new voice to the tattoo world.
Unfortunately, though an interesting concept, this book fell apart when it came to the most critical aspect of a tattoo book, the pictures. Maybe it’s because I dabble in photography, but the pictures were just not the quality that I would have expected. Many of them were blurry, underexposed and looked like they were taken by smartphones that struggled to find focus. I would have loved to see these photos taken by a professional photographer. I genuinely believe that it would have set this book apart.
Something else that would have set this book up for success would have been better stories. I feel that the stories behind a tattoo are fascinating and I would have loved to see more substance in this book.
Ultimately, this book was not something I will need to read again nor can I recommend it. For a book like this, the photos need to be spectacular, and unfortunately, they were not up to par.