“I found the absolute loveliest people”

Getty Images photographer Gareth Cattermole, known for his portraiture of top celebrities, always wanted to shoot a tattoo feature. The difficulty, he said, was finding not only the people, but also the right situation in which to photograph them, all in one place.

So when he learned about The London Tattoo Convention, which gathers more than 400 tattoo artists from around the world, he jumped at the chance to set up a portrait studio.

“I was quite nervous at first,” he said. “I don’t have any tattoos, so I was wondering whether they were going to accept me to do this or if they would view me as an outsider. But I found the absolute loveliest people — everyone was amazing. It’s the complete opposite of the stereotype people might have, what they perceive somebody with tattoos to be like.”

Wayne Bartlett photographed by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

“Wayne Bartlett was among my favorite people to photograph. You could tell he led a really interesting life. I could see that every tattoo had a story. And he was just the sweetest guy, even if on the surface he might look like the kind of person you wouldn’t want to mess with.”


Colin Snow photographed by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

“Colin Snow came in wearing these leather lederhosen, and he was the most well-spoken guy. He could have been an investment banker.”


Andrew Bostock photographed by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

“Andrew Bostock came over to me in the portrait studio and told me about this piece he has on his back, explaining that it extended all the way down through his calf muscles. He agreed for me to photograph him naked so we could show the full piece. It was quite amazing.”


Rebecca Crow and Shelly D’inferno photographed by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

“I went into this wondering how people would feel, whether they’d want to have their pictures taken,” Cattermole said. “But not a single person said no.”


See more of Gareth Cattermole’s portraits from The London Tattoo Convention