Tattoo Age - Never Too Old

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If you’ve got a tattoo, then you’ve sure as shit heard this little chestnut once or three million times …

 “Sure, you think you’re cool now – but how are you going to feel about that ink when you’re all old and wrinkly …?”

 Come on. How many?

 I met a best friend of mine in the tattoo shop where I got my first wave of ink (we all know you never just get one then stop. There’s always a flurry of two or three, right?). She was a body piercer and at that moment was sticking a needle through my lip. Or my nose. Or my belly button. Hey, piercings work the same way as the tatts, from time to time.

 When I mentioned how many times I’d heard the above, she rolled her eyes at me with a sassy and ambivalent flick of her hand.

 “When I’m in a nursing home and they’re washing my backside, I hope they look at the tatts on my thighs and think ‘damn, she liked herself a fucking good time’ …”

 I never had the slightest concern about tatts and older age after that.
(It’s also where I figured we were probably female soul-mates, too).

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After all, since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been finding ways and means of telling our story – smeared over the walls of the cave in the ash from the fire, or in volumes of books that would detail the horrors and the history of humankind. It’s innate.

That “tattoos are permanent, you know” should be a deterrent is ass-backwards, it’s the permanency that’s part of the charm. At the moment the buzz of the tattoo-machine filled the air, from the first dip of the needle, we’re scribing the next chapter.

And when we’re old, we’ll look fucking fabulous. Because our ink will be the momentums of those memories – those poignant moments of our lives – long after we start to lose our marbles a little bit.

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It’s why these photos hooked us. Getoud – which literally translates to ‘get old’ – is a foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between generations. To exposing a new image for those over the age of 75. In their latest project ‘Tattoo Age – Never Too Old’, they picture 25 elderly people in their living rooms, all of whom have tattoos, and share in the richness of the stories behind them.

Some of them span back to a time where tattoos carried with them a lot more stigma than they do now, some of them were gifts from grandchildren and some of them got their first tattoo at the age of 80. (YASS QUEEN).

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It’s a poignant exploration of the relationship between generations, and using tattoos as the shared ground is both deeply fascinating and frankly genius. Life is for the living, not just for the young.

We definitely recommend tickling the play buttons on a couple of the videos for more of the story. The exhibition is currently touring the Netherlands right now, but has also been made into a book, which you can find on their site.

Carter Gore