Skin Deep is a portrait series that seeks to understand the impacts tattoos have on former gang members and people trying to escape the gang life. How we as a society judge ex-gang members with tattoos and ultimately how they judge themselves. Portraits are taken off the participants and their tattoos are digitally removed in before and after images. The before and after images are then presented to the participants, powerful and emotionally charged interviews follow.
Says Steven: I hope this project helps put a very human face on a group of people that are so often demonized by society. By giving them a forum to talk about themselves, families, aspirations for the future and what tattoos mean to them, while the public is educated about the obstacles these individuals must overcome to re-enter society.
Originally from the UK, Steven Burton is a seasoned portrait and lifestyle photographer with an education in graphic design and advertising.
Steven’s career has taken him to remote locations around the world such as Tibet, Papua New Guinea, Burma, Asia and the Middle East to name a few. He has worked with advertising agencies and NGO’s such as the United Nations, Grass Roots Soccer (South Africa) McGarry Bowen. His personal work has garnered him international acclaim and attention.
Steven first book “Skin deep, looking beyond the tattoos” with Powerhouse books, has become an internet sensation with collectively over 77 million views on social media. It has also featured internationally on most major news channels, editorial, tv and radio platforms. The premise of the book questions how we as a society judge people based on their appearance and also how we judge ourselves.