Old Men’s Tattoos is a collection of tattoos made from the 1940s to the 70s, photographed in the 2000s in America, Europe and Australia. These are images of living history, anachronistic aesthetics that stand as echoes of the past. They are at a point which all tattoos promise to reach; a blurry embodiment of the passing of time, a permanent relic. They are from a time when tattooing meant something vastly differ- ent to what it means today, and as such, they remain outside the ebb and flow of contemporary trends; fundamental and at the same time sovereign.
In a time of absolute freedom and endless variation in tattoo culture, these images stand out for their bold and simple aesthetic gestures.
Thomas Jeppe is a Melbourne-based artist and founder of pub- lishing house Serps Press. He holds first class honours in Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne, and is the author of Home Made Tattoos Rule (Serps Press 2006), which signalled a turning point in contemporary tattoo culture. His work has been published in numerous books and magazines, including Shoot (Rizzoli, 2009), and he has held exhibitions in Australia, Ger- many, Mexico and Japan.