It’s time to think about ink – as art

Comox Valley photographer Gordon Ross is showcasing a collection of 81 portraits in a three-day photo exhibit.

PHOTOGRAPHER GORDON ROSS is holding an exhibit from April 27 to 29 that focuses on tattoos.

PHOTOGRAPHER GORDON ROSS is holding an exhibit from April 27 to 29 that focuses on tattoos.

Comox Valley portrait photographer Gordon Ross is showcasing an eclectic collection of 81 portraits and stories in a three-day photo exhibit.

Those same images and stories can also be found within the pages of his self-published 160-page, full-colour book, Tattoo + You: A Photo Story of Body Ink.

The exhibit opening and book launch takes place April 27 from 6 to 10 p.m. at his studio in Tin Town, and is open to the public. The exhibit will also take place April 28 and April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As a portrait photographer, people are Gordon’s primary fascination and he has had the good fortune of photographing thousands of people. Through his portrait work, Gordon started seeing more and more tattoos on his subjects and was curious about the stories behind them.

“It’s a powerful act to place something on your body permanently. As I discovered through the project, the stories behind them are equally powerful. I have seen a lot of tattoo photography but the reason that people got them was rarely mentioned. As a photographer, I am interested in telling stories and, oftentimes, the photo is amplified if you learn the story behind it.”

The idea behind Gordon’s project was this: if a person had a tattoo and was willing to share up to 300 words about the inspiration behind their body ink, then a portrait session was arranged. What began as a simple project nearly a year ago quickly evolved into a project of wide appeal. So much so, that it has launched itself into an ongoing project that can soon be found online at

Gordon is grateful for the people who had the courage to get in front of his lens and share their story.

“I loved shooting the portraits and I was ecstatic with the way the images came out. I really didn’t expect the story narrative though — they blew me away. I was amazed at the honesty and the strength of character that was revealed through their words.”

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the opening and online at

A selection of images from the exhibit will also be showcased at Zocalo Café on May 5 as part of Elevate The Arts, and will remain there for the month of May.

Updates on the event can be found at and on the Gordon Ross Photography Facebook page.

— Gordon Ross Photography