Although this charming little book is a quick read, it deserves to be returned to many times, to really admire and appreciate all of the unique, amazing, and well-done tattoos on display therein. In recent years, the old stereotypes of body modifications and the people who get them have been changing for the better. This book can only help in that endeavor. Far from displaying a bunch of bikers, criminals, delinquents, soldiers, and sailors, the type of people who are stereotypically associated with tattoos, these are people from a wide range of walks of life. Many of them are professionals and educated, and all put a lot of thought into these tattoos. And far from being the stereotypical fare of skulls, hearts, roses, and pin-ups girls, the tattoos themselves are also from a very diverse sampling.
The book was inspired by a typographic tattoo which Ms. Saltz saw on the subway one day, and after that discovery (which her subject happily let her photograph), she began seeing more and more tattoos that contained words, letters, and typographical symbols instead of the more standard traditional pictorial images. These people used a wide variety of typefaces for these tattoos, and sometimes even designed their own typefaces. I loved the ambiagram tattoos, the ones designed in a typeface that lets the word be read the same upside-down as it is when viewed rightside-up. People have gotten tattoos containing loved ones' names (very unique was the woman who got her blind lover's name tattooed in Braille on the top of the back of her neck), quotations from Shakespeare, the Bible, movies, songs (the story behind the 33 people who had the first 33 words of Holland's national anthem tattooed on them was a very interesting one, reflecting not only the diversity of the nation but also how much the Dutch love their country), popular quotations, works of literature, and other things which inspire them. One of my favorite word tattoos was the one containing the opening line of 'The Divine Comedy,' in the original Middle Italian, since I also find the opening lines of that long epic poem to be very beautiful, moving, and inspiring. The tattoos are also categorised into such divisons as love, self-love, self-expression, politics, religion, and personal beliefs.
Overall, this is a great small-sized coffeetable book full of great photography of a very unique subject. One doesn't need to have a tattoo or tattoos oneself to appreciate the photographs; I can't get a tattoo due to my religious beliefs, but I greatly admired all of the workpersonship and personal meaning that went into thinking up, designing, and executing these amazing tattoos, and even saw some I'd like to have myself if I were allowed to have a tattoo. I'd love for there to be a second volume, particularly because this one didn't include my own favoritest typefaces, Palatino and Bookman!