While traveling with dutch journalist, Maarten Kolsloot, on a story about a couple dutch brothers working their way through the minor leagues we ended up in Appleton, Wisconsin. As is evident young players like getting tattoos. This brought us to Colt’s Timeless Tattoos in Appleton where we met Kani Xiong, a tattoo artist with, of course, his own set of amazing tattoos. Before I even asked Kani to do some pictures I knew I wanted to make a photograph in the front of the store where there was nice window light and these very cool, dark paintings on the wall. I also noted that the walls were blue/green so also cool in tone. I thought if I had the opportunity to do a portrait, warm skin tones would be a nice contrast against the wall.
After chatting awhile I finally asked if we could do some photos. Both portraits and of him working. At first he was a bit reluctant because he didn’t feel photographs of him would be appropriate to the story we were working on. But he eventually agreed.
Working with window light is pretty straight forward, I wanted to get a nice ratio of highlight to shadow on his face but I also knew this lighting ratio would really highlight the tattoos. Putting Kani closer to window would also allow the wall and paintings to be slightly darker separating him from the background and creating depth to the photo.
Click the photo to see a few more photographs of Kani.