Category Archives: Photographers

Samantha at Scarwars 2006

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Another highlight from the February 2006 Scarwars event in Los Angeles was meeting and getting to know a piercer named Samantha from Northern California. She had a collaborative cutting done on her chest that was documented by photographer Atom Moore while it was in progress, but this portrait by Rachel Larratt, while significantly less bloody, is still my favorite of her from that weekend.

You can check out Samantha’s stone jewelry here: http://thestonewitch.bigcartel.com/

Scarwars2: Thorsten

thorstenscarwarssacreddebrisAfter the success of the inaugural Scarwars in 2005, we decided to take the party to the west coast less than a year later and in February 2006 found ourselves at a private studio location in Los Angeles California continuing the concept of cutting and branding artists sharing information and collaborative scarification projects.

This photo, taken by the event’s official portrait photographer Rachel Larratt, features modification artist Thorsten Sekira.  Thorsten is wearing one of the event’s official t-shirts with a design by New Hampshire’s Nick Kelly.

DPBSPC: Scalpelled Tongue

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In the photo: Dustin, Phil, Blair.
Procedure: Scalpelled Tongue Piercing.
Artist: Blair.
Year: Unknown. 2001?
Source: spcOnline

Received some great news out of Canada today from my friend Philip, which makes this post perfectly timed. This photo originally ran in the early 2000s on the spcOnline website and features body piercer Dustin, photographer Philip (center) and modification artist Blair and was taken shortly after Philip’s large gauge tongue scalpelling by Blair. The jewelry, Phil tells me, was nylon and apparently was very prone to being stained by just about anything he ate.

“Dennis who used to make Jewellery at Stainless Studios (maybe he worked at newtribe too…) made it for me. At the time Denis was mostly making prince wands out of his loft under DMT or design machine technologies. Since it was only meant to last long enough for the initial healing it was made from nylon. At the time many many body modification practitioners where playing around with nylon jewellery and implants. The implants back then where not the fancy sculpted anatomy changing things you see today. Often it was some nylon rods inserted with needles and a push bar. You would see them if you pinched the skin. Teflon came along as a more common material for things like this a year after I had mine done.” – Philip

Philip was the photographer for all of the ModCon events as well as the first Scarwars. He’s wearing the event t-shirt from the second Modcon.

Congrats, Philip and Alie!

 

In deference to Slack

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Dealing with technology that’s older than some of the readers of this blog comes with a certain level of frustration. Courting donations, finding the tech we need and buying it, waiting for it to arrive to find that it’s defective or doesn’t suit the needs of the project, starting the returns/refund process and then sitting in a holding pattern before you start the whole thing over again has burned me out a little on regular updates.

I have a replacement 8mm VCR en route to Philly and am scouting some digital8/DVC platforms as well, but in the meantime…. I’m enjoying the slack. I should be scanning photos, there are VHS tapes I could be importing… but eh. I think I’m going to let Slack win until the 8mm project gets underway.

I hadn’t planned to update until I had some good news, but once I started thinking about Slack… Flashback to 2006, Los Angeles for Scarwars2- Dave Gillstrap did this fitting tribute to the prophet of Slack himself, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs.

“Moses parted the Red Sea, Oppenheimer split the atom, but “Bob” cut the crap.” – Steve Antczak

SCARWARS@TEN

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Ten years ago today I was nervously pacing in a Port Richmond 1 warehouse, hoping that the months of planning the inaugural Scarwars event- from assembling the artists, hand picking the attendees, making sure the photographers had what they needed and praying that the warehouse owner believed my ‘we’re shooting pornography, please give us our privacy’ cover story- would be enough to make sure that the weekend would go off without a hitch.

05SW100We made some amazing memories that weekend; the artists made some beautiful scars and while there were some glitches (the gentleman walking around dripping blood comes to mind) by and large it ended up being one of the most laid back events I’ve ever hosted. In the decade that followed we’ve seen decorative scarification flourish; while not getting the same widespread acceptance that tattooing and body piercing are currently enjoying people are finally starting to come around to the idea that a cutting isn’t always mutilation and that sometimes our scars make us stronger. I hope that in some small way we had something to do with that.

I’ve asked SW1 staff, artists 2 and guests to share a memory from the event- here are their stories:

Angela (Medical Liaison)
As someone who was relatively new to the BME community and also now as “modified” as others, this event was extremely inclusive. I attended as a spectator as well as someone on the medical/biohazard team. A very distinct memory, may it be good or bad, was of a young gentleman who had just got some work done and was walking around shirtless. He happen to drip blood EVERYWHERE. I followed the blood trail to him, cleaning up as I went. Finally as I got to him, I drew a circle on the floor and told him he wasn’t allowed outside of the circle…. Over the years of scar wars, this def happened less and less as people were much more aware of themselves… But that was the first… Oh yeah, and I was topless for most of it.

Brian (Staff Fixer)
perkperkWhen you asked us to look back at the inaugural Scar Wars, I literally had to go through pictures and re-read diary entries to jog my memory. After being flooded with nostalgia and thoughts of “I miss them”, I searched for what it was like those important days. It was hectic. I remember being the first ones there and the last to leave almost everyday. My role in the event was a catch all. I documented what I could, helped wherever possible, and most of all was privileged to witness amazing humans enduring painful experiences that ended with huge smiles. Being part of the chaos was grueling at the time, but come 10 years later it stands out as a defining moment of my life. i also can’t believe how many titties there were.

Kathleen† (Staff)
My memories of Scar Wars are mostly about the people who attended. Many friends from around the world who I was meeting for the first time or seeing together in one place when they usually were so far apart. I had seen scarification done many times, but not in such a concentrated group of skilled practitioners, and it was great to walk around the room and watch them all work. The collaborative spirit was something that struck me as well- so many artists with different styles and techniques, all willing to share information and learn from one another. It and the subsequent Scar Wars events are some of the most positive memories I have of any body modification event I’ve ever attended.

Jesse Villemaire (Scarification Artist)
Scar Wars had so many great memories! 10 years later and I’m still proud to be friends with many of these great artists.  I remember connecting with Ron Garza immediately as he put a camera crew in my face to interview me as soon as I arrived. Ron then made me comfortable and allowed me to ask as many stupid questions as I needed too in order to excel my techniques.

I also had the honor of collaborating with Brian Decker on a large bamboo scar piece on Corinna’s back. Corinna dealt with every emotion possible as many friends were coaching her through this intense project…still so unreal. It wasn’t just about cutting people, it was about bonding on a level that’s hard to describe.

The enjoyment of learning with many others, realizing there’s multiple ways to create a scar, watching Dave create “shading” with his cross hatching technique, seeing other artists collaborating for the very first time…it was all very inspiring.

Scar Wars is a significant part of our history. Thanks Shawn for having a vision that brought so many talented people from around the world to showcase the art we were truly passionate about.

Ryan Ouellette (Scarification Artist)
Scar Wars was the first time that I felt like I was part of a larger scarification community and that I really had colleagues in it. I knew there were other people out there doing it and getting it but I was in this little bubble of only seeing my pieces and only knowing my techniques and aftercare. Being able to watch other people doing it really helped me expand my own methods. I grew a lot from that experience and scarification really came into its own as a respectable art form, rather than just an internet fad.

Allen Falkner (Photographer)
So many fond memories form that weekend. Sadly most stories cannot be shared with the public due the nature of the indiscretions and the people involved.

Julie (Guest)
SWJULEScar Wars was an intensely personal experience among friends and strangers, unique in a way that doesn’t feel possible anymore. I got cut at Scar Wars and love it ten years later, but it was not the most memorable thing about the event. What I remember most was an inherent trust in the people I was surrounded by that I’ve since learned is rare. It is hard to put succinctly into words how this event (and others like it) helped me personally grow. I’ll leave it to a simple thank you to everyone involved.

Shawn Porter: (Host)
shawnscarwarsThe first Scarwars was fun. It was supposed to be serious, life changing, important.. but more than anything it was fun. The staff worked overtime (literally) to make sure that by the time I walked in the door everything had been taken care of so I was free just to enjoy myself and have a good time. Everything lined up perfectly and I was humbled to be part of something that meant as much to the artists and guests as it did for me.

Notes:

  1. Port Richmond is a neighborhood in North Philadelphia, several miles from the downtown area.
  2. The artists at the first ScarWars were Ron Garza, Dave Gilstrap, Vampy, Monte, Jesse Villemaire, Brian Decker and Ryan Ouellette

The ties have it

tresamigosI received a package full of goodies from photographer Philip Barbosa today. The contents are a story unto themselves, but we’ll get to that later, after I locate a negative scanner. In the mean time, here’s a placeholder-

Blair Mclean, Jon Cobb and Philip sharing a drink at a party I threw in May 2004. The 48 hours preceding this snapshot were an amazing chaotic blur and like the contents of the package that turned up in the post today, are a hell of a story.

 

ModCon CD-ROM 1999

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.22.32 PMBefore the first ModCon book, which covered the first and second events, there was a limited run ModCon 1999 Event CD available on CD-Rom. It was basic HTML formatted with three size gallery options for the photographs that included printable resolution images of Toronto’s Philip Barbosa amazing black and white portraits.

Other ModCon media includes two books, a vcd and a dvd of procedural footage.

 

 

Books of Blood

tumblr_n7ld1tgwpK1town8so1_1280Why then was he so distressed to set eyes upon them? Was it the scars that covered every inch of their bodies, the flesh cosmetically punctured and sliced and infibulated, then dusted down with ash? – Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart

Only nine more days until Halloween and it’s already a damned good fall here in Philadelphia It’s cold and rainy out, I’ve got a ‘mulled cider’ candle making my house smell like an orchard and a horror movie playing on tv as I scroll through photos trying to find spooky halloweeny things to blog.

This photo, by staff photographer Atom Moore, originally ran on Scarwars.net in 2006 and features a fresh cutting on David by New Hampshire’s Ryan Ouellette. Done at the Los Angeles Scarwars event the cutting was designed by horror icon Clive Barker specifically for the client. Barker related tattoos are fairly common, but to my knowledge this is the only time Clive drew a design specifically for scarification. Pretty rad coming from the man who gave us “Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.”

Clive was kind enough to give David a box of signed posters to bring as gifts to the Scarwars II attendees.

 

Gonzo

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I first started seeing Efrain Gonzalez’s portraits of pierced fans/NYC fetish scene in the PFIQ magazines of the 1990s. We met for the first time at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City almost fifteen years ago. Through the years I’ve never seen him not enjoying himself, always ready with a smile and never without his camera. Photographer Atom Moore snapped this portrait of Efrain at the 2007 Philadelphia SCARWARS3 event.

You can see Efrain’s photographic work here: Hellfire Press.

Evolution of a subculture: CURED Tour/Uvatiarru

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In 2003, a small crew sponsored by BMEZine founder Shannon Larratt started a North American tour to film Body Modification enthusiasts/practices for what promised to be a very unique documentary.

Shannon sent out DVC cameras to people not on the tour’s path who he felt could contribute something unique, equipped Jon Cobb with a camera for a tour of South East Asia and even managed to make a website and trailer for the film- Uvatiarru– that ultimately never got produced.

This image is from the first stop of the US Tour on 04 May 2003. While the tour allowed for the crew to go to the homes/studios of the people they were filming, some folks stepped it up and hosted parties and events when the tour came through their town.

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IAM.BME community members Lauren and Sam organized a suspension event in NYC for the first stop of the tour, which found CURED member (and ModCon/SCARwars photographer) Philip Barbosa suspending with an assist from ROP’s Emrys Yetz. A Cured crew member- Johnny- films in the background.

I’ve been told that these tapes still exist; they’re just waiting to be put together and celebrate a time/place that was very influential in the development of the Body Modification community worldwide.