100 Strangers : Round 3 : No. 201 : Chris by phil_howcroft

100 Strangers : Round 3 : No. 201 : Chris

This afternoon I took Ruby on an extra walk, hoping I could find a stranger to start round 3 round of my 100 Strangers.

We walked to the Duck Park, extended the walk to Daybrook and a hour later on the way back through Arnold, took a detour to the market area of the town. It was in the market area where I met Chris, he was stood outside the ToxInk tattoo parlour, smoking a cigarette. As we walked by the shop, I nodded and said “Hi you all right”. Chris made a instant bond with Ruby and started stroking her and talking to her. He asked me if it was OK to stroke her as he had some ink on his hands.

I asked Chris if he worked in the shop. He said yes he did. He worked as a tattoo artist. The shop was owned by “his missus”. In between discussing Ruby, he asked me if I wanted a tattoo. I said I didn’t have any, they always look striking, but declined his offer.

At that point I told him I was an amateur photographer and would it be OK to photograph him for my 100 strangers project. Chris asked me where do I post my pictures, so I gave him my contact card with my details and told him it would be a good picture !

Chris agreed to my request and I shot quite a few images. While taking the shots I asked him what he liked about tattoos. He said he loved them as it was like having a painting on your body. Chris them showed me his tattoo of the devil on the right hand side of the neck.

“I got this tattoo of the devil after I’d been attacked and stabbed. I got stabbed in head and on the neck when I was 18”

He then pulled up his hat and showed me a big scar on his head where his hair would not grow.

“The person who did it got seven years inside” (for those unfamiliar with the term “inside” it means “a prison sentence”). Actually I cannot remember if Chris said six years or seven years !

“So how old are you now”?

“I’m 27 years old”

“So, nine years ago” I said “He will be out now” (“out” means finished his sentence).

“Yes, he is”

“What happened? Why did you get attacked?”

“He tried to steal my mobile phone and I wouldn’t give it to him”

“Was it here in Arnold?”

“No, it was in Kimberley”

We went on to discuss the number of other tattoo parlours in the area , with me stating there was a lot of competition. Chris said they did well.

Chris was a great stranger, a very willing and helpful model.

I didn’t know whether to post the stranger photo in mono or colour as all the images were really striking. I’ve decided to go with colour as I think it emphasises the ink better, but I will post a mono shot in a couple of days. Chris was quite tall, so he is looking down on me , which I think adds to the mood. The background to the shot is the window of the tattoo parlour. I love the drawn “old school curtains”, which make a different and unique backdrop. I assume the windows of tattoo shops must be such that you cannot see inside.

Thanks for being the first stranger in my third round of 100 strangers Chris

Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page


My own strangers can be seen here:

Gracious - this guy looks as if he might be a problem in some circumstances. You did well to be a friend!
January 9th, 2020  
@maggiemae thanks Maggie, Chris was a lovely man , he was in character posing for me :)
January 9th, 2020  
great portrait Phil - tattooed people scare a lot of folk - as we know looks can be deceiving :)
January 9th, 2020  
I admire the way you engage your contacts in conversation. I think I'm too reticent in my approaches, I only go to 'events' where the people involved expect to be photographed. This is an excellent portrait - great clarity.
January 9th, 2020  
A great shot Phil - such an intense look in otherwise a blank face of a strong man !
January 9th, 2020  
January 9th, 2020  
I do so enjoy your stories about your strangers. It as is if you have made 201 new friends through the stranger project. I wish Chris well in his business (but do not offer to be a customer).
January 9th, 2020  
Very interesting story he has. Quite an intimidating stare he put on for you!
January 10th, 2020  
@mccarth1 thank you kerry for your lovely words

@helenhall thanks helen, it;s amazing what people tell you when you ask them to be a stranger :)

@pdulis thank you Peter

@ellida Graham, I just smile and ask politely :)

@annied thanks annie, you are right :)

January 11th, 2020  
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