Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TATTLE TALES by Brandy Isadora

TATTLE TALES

Tattoo Stories and Portraits

by Brandy Isadora

ISBN: 978-1-73358-200-1
Publisher: Brandimar

Every tattoo tells a story in writer, photographer, and musician Isadora’s debut work. 

The author notes that she’s long been fascinated by tattoos and by people who “were so confident that they knew what they wanted to have permanently inked on their bodies.” After meeting many heavily tattooed people, she decided to combine her skills as a photographer and writer to create this attractive book. In it, her many interview subjects talk about their tattoo decisions, the meanings of their body art, and how their ink has affected how others perceive them. They come from all walks of life, and some have art that covers most of their body. Michael, a schoolteacher who first got inked at 15, says that his tattoos give him “more credibility” with his students and help him connect with their parents, as well—as many of them also have tattoos. Priyanka, a biologist, explains that her tattoo of the Om symbol is “an anchor to remind myself what my cultural heritage is.” Aside from a short introduction and a note at the end, Isadora lets her subjects speak for themselves throughout the book. Some explain why they choose to cover their tattoos, while others express a belief that hiding their body art would obscure a part of themselves. One woman describes how getting tattooed adversely affected her career as a belly dancer, but many have largely neutral or positive reactions to their body art, as tattoos have become increasingly mainstream in the past few decades. Isadora’s impressive, full-color photos often provide close-ups of the subjects’ ink, and tattoo aficionados, in particular, will appreciate the opportunity to check out the artwork in detail. Many other readers will get new insight into those who choose to permanently change their appearance. Indeed, Isadora’s book does much to dispel stereotypes about who gets tattooed and why.

An intriguing and enlightening overview of tattooed people’s lives.