Watch These Ex-Gang Members React To Seeing Themselves Without Tattoos

Steven Burton’s Kickstarter project Skin Deep: Looking Beyond the Tattoos explores the ways that tattoos are often stigmatized in society as well as the difficulty involved in getting your life back after being a gang member.

Burton explains:

When I started Skin Deep I had a simple concept: take portraits of heavily tattooed ex-gang members and remove the tattoos using digital re-touching to create before and after portraits. Most of the homeboys/girls hadn’t seen themselves without tattoos for decades, so during the interviews, I presented the images. There was a deep emotional response by the subjects. They revealed very personal sometimes shocking details about the abuse, violence and drug addiction they had suffered for most of their lives. With help from the Homeboy Industries in downtown Los Angeles, they fought against the odds to find something better; hope.

Now, Burton has finished photographing his portraits, applying 400 hours of Photoshop work and conducting his interviews. Last month, he raised $26,541 on Kickstarter which will cover the costs of printing a high-quality hardcover book with a lithographic cover that collects all of this work.

The book is expected to be out via Powerhouse books in October of next year. Proceeds will benefit Homeboy Industries, a non-profit dedicated to providing tattoo removal services. You can follow Burton on Twitter to get further updates.

See some of the subject’s reactions in the videos above and below.

Related Posts

Music
Music

Remembering Prodigy Through His Music

News
News

Prodigy of Mobb Deep Has Died

Video
Video

Fat Joe Remembers Prodigy

Rhythm Roulette
Rhythm Roulette

Rhythm Roulette With Havoc

Video
Video

Prodigy Remembers “Getting Closer To God In A Tight Situation”

Ad

Latest News

nas-rapture Film

PREPARE FOR ‘RAPTURE’

Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over