Flu & Loathing

inknationSo after years of man flu I finally caught the real thing and boy was it awful. I just spent the better part of a week delirious, sweating, shivering and aching. After a couple of nights it became clear that a few beers and a cheeky rum wern’t  gonna cut it.

When you’re laid up in bed with a weeks worth of work cancelled, it’s inevitable that boredom will set in and you’re gonna decide at some point to catch up with email and dip in to social media.

Now, with a temperature well into 3 figures my fuse was short and I figured It was high time I called out a few of those leach pages that steal my work on an all to regular basis.

I spent a couple of hours politely, (at first) asking for my photos to be removed, and if I got no answer, I reported them to Instagram for abuse of my intellectual property. It didn’t take long for the whiny emails to begin dropping into my inbox.KarmmahBS

For those not versed in the ways of these pages, heres what they do. They setup a page called for example “Tattooed Girls of Instagram”, In their bio, they will often say something like, “DM us your pics to be featured” Now here’s a thing, I have never “DM’d” one of these pages and I don’t know anyone who has. I certainly don’t believe any of the models I’ve shot do that. So, what do they do, they just steal the photos anyway, after all, without photos, their page is nothing. Once you ask them to remove your own work, they’ll often block you.

So, what actually happens when you do DM the page owners, well, they automatically assume you’re desperate enough to require their services, so they send you a price list of what they can do for you if they post your work. The conversation pictured below took place between a reputable tattoo artist and a page after they had asked him to DM them.


Even well known publications have taken to posting the hard work of photographers/models and artists, assuming that because its in the public domain, it must be free, well it isn’t.

There seems to be some basic misconception that posting, isn’t the same as publishing, it is. and thats why the lawyers of one major magazine advised their client to pay up rather than argue the toss with me in court.

I couldn’t make this shit up…




Skin Deep 287 Cover

SD287My latest incarnation for Skin Deep Magazine appeared publicly a lot sooner than I was expecting. Before I’d even seen the final proof in fact.

I’d been really excited about the release of this cover. It’s a cracking shot if I do say so myself. In fact the whole shoot was a success with several sets of awesome cover/feature material produced.

One of the few remaining satisfying parts of this job is being able to share the cover layout with the model who often has no idea her face is about to appear on newsstands around the world.

I’ve always done this a day or two before the publication in question falls through subscribers letterboxes. It has the most impact and it just feels right that after being kept in the dark (for fear of a leak) the model sees the fruits of our labour before it’s released to the masses.

When the cover is posted to social media, in this case almost a week before official release and the model discovers the image via a third party it’s deflating.

It may seem like no big deal to some, but these little things are important to the people who took the time to create the image, especially the model who is often realising a dream.

Along with the masthead, the covershot is the magazines identity and a small team of people spent time to create something worthy. Sad then that even when posted in a hurry, those people are the very ones left without a mention. The excitement remains only for those who’s names are mentioned who’s work appears on the pages within. For the team creating the cover, the moment is lost.

Anyway, it’s still a great cover, it features Hollie Pryce-Jones. I was introduced to Hollie at The Great British Tattoo Show after party a couple of years back. I have tried to convince her to come model for me ever since.

Here’s hoping she likes it, even though she discovered it through a third party…



Tattoo Scout 64 Cover

001_Scout03_DeckblattWell this takes back…back to 2015 in fact.

The latest edition of Tattoo Scout magazine features Swedish beauty Jade Fenix from our one and only shoot back on March 30th of 2015.

A great model and a great tattoo so it shouldn’t be any surprise to see it re-emerge now. If it’s relevant, it’s relevant and that’s all there is to it.


Making Memories with BFS

_MG_4385sGood friends Bowling For Soup were back in the UK last week and I was lucky enough to be able to shoot them as I have done every year since 2003.

_MG_4152sRound 2 of “The Get Happy Tour” featured nine shows in nine cities in nine nights with support from The Aquabats and Army Of Freshmen.

Playing the full Drunk Enough To Dance album, the Texan punkers thrilled sold out audiences with a two hour performance, ten years after the first Get Happy Tour hit the UK._MG_4064s

The final two nights of the tour included the bands first UK arena headline show at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, ending in Brixton at the Academy where they shot the final footage for their latest video.

Here’s hoping it won’t be ten years until Round 3.



Tattoo Studio Issue 32 Cover

001_Scout03_DeckblattSqueezing one more cover into what has been a hugely productive month thanks to our friends at Tattoo Studio magazine, Tattoo Studio issue 32 features none other than Lauren Brock and Becky Holt in their first duo cover together.

This is my 9th cover for Lauren and my 7th for Becky, (her second this month) clearly a pretty successful model/photographer relationship that I intend to continue throughout 2018.

4 new models strutted their stuff in front of my lens in January in addition to the regular faces. All of which were carefully selected and in my opinion deserve a cover on at least one of the fine magazines I shoot for.

February shows no signs of slowing down with the release of my 162nd cover imminent and a further influx of fresh new UK models.






Skin Deep Issue 286 Cover

SD286Sure, shooting magazine covers and features is my day job and you could be forgiven for thinking that with 160 tattoo covers to my name I can afford to be a little blasé about them by now.

In actual fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. No amount of loyalty, dedication to your art or just plain playing nicely can guarantee publication.

Freelance woes. it’s a fuckin cutthroat world out there, made no easier by the gods who hold the purse strings.

Regardless of the cover haul, incidentally, this is my 60th for Skin Deep, every now and then one comes along that makes me proud of my work. Thats the case with SD286.

The photo of model Becky Holt appears ‘as shot’ (other than a little retouching), including the background which is always very satisfying. No hair to cut out this month, the design team must have loved me…surely!

I’ve recently invested in new cameras, and post processing setup. Image quality is higher than it’s ever been. The photographic industry is no place for whiners complaining about the cost of gear. It’s always been this way, you better be prepared to dig deep.

Of course, if you can reap covers, (the holy grail for many photographers) with low resolution, out of focus images, then maybe I’ve been wasting my time and money all along but, inside, you’ll know the truth.

Covers 161 and 162 are already in the bag, there’s life in the old dog yet…

Skin Shots Issue 115 Cover

SS115sThe latest issue of Skin Shots is on it’s way to newsagents.

Sister publication to Skin Deep magazine it’s packed with inspirational tattoo art and comes complete with a directory to help you locate the artists studios.

Skin Shots 115 features covergirl SJ Whiteley…enjoy.