The middle school era of contemporary body modification culture was a time of constant innovation; the work of controversial pioneers like Tom Brazda, Jon Cobb, Blake Perlingieri and Steve Haworth blurred the lines between heretical and genius with new techniques, materials and ideologies replacing standard accepted practices. The evolution of 3D implants, for example, a field largely driven by the efforts of Phoenix, Arizona’s Haworth, went through constant genesis- pearls to stainless steel to teflon to silicone with each success and failure spawning further investigation on why it worked or why it did not.
This implant, performed by Steve while doing a guest spot in Philadelphia, was done with a large sculpted piece of medical grade teflon made to resemble the great state of Texas. Teflon offered advantages over stainless steel- the ability to go beyond basic shapes and the presumption of greater bio-compatibility- but for larger more detailed pieces came with a much larger incision required for implantation and problematic issues due to it’s rigidity. Still, it offered the chance for early 3D Art clients to push the boundaries with more creative designs which no doubt influenced the move to bio-compatible, ultra flexible silicone implants which are now the standard.
These photographs were taken by BME founder Shannon Larratt and submitted to the spcOnline sit in 1997.
I first met Hiro in September of 1998 at the Crowe & Dwyer Tattoo Tour in South Beach Miami. Even surrounded by heavily tattooed people, Hiro stood out; his large forehead implants and stretched nostrils were pretty far out for a tattoo convention in 1998 and every time I tried to introduce myself I’d find him surrounded by photographers.
Steve Haworth finally got us together in his hotel room, and with the help of his interpreter we were able to get to know each other as I documented his modifications. He was in the States collecting work; tattooing from Grime and Guy Aitchison as well as implant and modification work from Steve.
When I ran into him several years later he had added beautiful facial scarifications to his already impressive body of work.
An anonymous tumblr follower suggested that I start adding all of the ‘one shot’ updates- the single photos with no articles to go with them- to the Sacreddebris.com site proper instead of just dropping them on tumblr. It makes sense considering that anything I post here also ends up there, and who knows… it may even make it look like I update this site more often than I do.
I’ve been pretty open about the future of this blog; I can’t say it’s going to make it past 1st January 2015. But until I pull the plug I might as well try to keep it updated.
This photo is an early digital camera shot (thus the quality) from approximately 1996-7 that was submitted to the SPCOnline site by BME Editor Shannon Larratt. I’ve written about this before- the infamous ‘fork handle dermal elevator’ procedure (which you can check out here– but for those too busy to click the link…
Shannon had a set of implants in his forehead done by a traveling practitioner and he felt they were crooked. Since the artist had moved on he had to have his roommate ‘fix’ the placement, but without proper tools they resorted to using the flat end of a fork’s handle in place of a dermal elevator. There’s a lot of talk recently about irresponsibility with documenting certain procedures, but when Shannon submitted these to SPC we didn’t even consider the possible negative consequences of publishing graphic, ill advised procedural photos.
Consider a piece of body jewelry.
Not some piece of mass produced low quality mall kiosk belly button ring with vibrating dolphin charm, but a beautiful handmade piece of wearable art made by an artisan company that takes pride in producing the finest jewelry available. Each piece takes time to be realized, created and quality checked before it moves to the next step in the chain- the folks who pack it up with care and send it to you knowing that you’re sitting around your mailbox counting the seconds until it arrives.
It’s a process with a lot of moving parts that works well in harmony and leaves both ends of the transaction happy.
Consider Sacred Debris.
Today is our one month anniversary. In that time, we’ve had almost 10,000 visitors. The most popular post for unique page views was Evolution of a Subculture: ModCon, the most traffic from a referring link was from Luis Garcia’s tumblr and we’ve had contributions from myself, Allen Falkner, Ron Garza and Luna Duran. During our first month I think we’ve managed to set a tone for what you can expect in the coming weeks.
As readers, you folks have left 214 comments on the 21 posts we’ve created. One of my main worries in starting a new project (with SPCOnline and Scarwars.net under my belt) was that it would be a one sided thing. Our team (which is mostly me right now) doing all of the work and having nothing to show for it in the end. I’ve been pleased to see that level of interaction- of community- with the Sacred Debris project. It may seem to be an afterthought, but discussing the articles really does make a difference. It shows us that the content is being read and appreciated, that there’s a market for something as incredibly niche as Body Modification history. The reblogs on tumblr, twitter and Facebook are also incredibly helpful in bringing visibility to what we’re doing, so keep that up. We’re going to be doing random contests for comments and reblogs- tshirts, original photographs from the SPC archive, posters- so there’s going to be some fun stuff coming (starting tonight with the ‘Do you remember your first PA’ contest) so stay tuned.
That brings us to the little button beneath this post. DONATE. Both sides- reader and editors- working together.
We’re never going to do a ‘hard sell’ on donations; this is not a paid site (our PG rated videos come with google ads and we may accept paid ads from reputable shops/jewelry in the future, but there will never be a fee to view content) but the site does cost money to create and maintain. At the moment, our server space and bandwidth is being donated but we have no escrow account if that were to ever change. Given the explicit content of our site we can’t run on WordPress.com’s servers, so should we lose our server we lose our site.
Then there’s the hardware.
To date, most of the videos I’ve added- of Body Modification icons like Jack Yount, Ed Fenster and Til of Cardiff- has been content I’ve previously captured for other projects- videos that were sitting on DVDrs unedited. Capturing new content means needing storage space. Capturing an hour long video (such as Sailor Sid’s Guide to Safe Piercing) at full resolution for archival clocks in somewhere around 30-60gb depending on the settings. When they’re uploaded they’re considerably smaller, but to preserve these tapes for future generations requires storage- more storage than I have.
We also need to purchase- or arrange donations- for a variety of media players including mini-dv and 8mm, as well as negative scanners for old analog 35mm print archival.
Last but certainly not least is time. With my current setup, adding a 10 minute video to Sacred Debris takes as much as ten hours to get online. Sorting the tapes that are often unlabeled. Scanning them from start to finish to make sure that all the content on the tape is accounted for. Importing it into my macbook. Cleaning up or removing audio, editing it down into a usable movie when then has to render and get uploaded before I sit down to write the article that accompanies it.
As a reader, you then sit down, watch a five-ten minute video, possibly leave a comment, share on social media and wait for the next update.
My hope is that the folks who care about this kind of content will want to see the project continue and will throw a few bucks into the hat to keep it going. If every viewer who checked us out in the first month would have dropped $1 into the pot- we’d have a workable budget for years to come.
So. I’m asking you folks for a little help.
The donation button is here in this entry as well as on the sidebar of the main site. If you see an update you really love and think it’s worth a buck or two… please feel free. Trust me, every little bit helps.
Thank you all so much for a great first month, and here’s hoping for more where that came from!
Sometimes modifications don’t work out.
Sometimes people who know better do really unadvisable things and still, miraculously, come out of it just fine.
Some time in either late 1995 or early 1996 I tried to give Shannon Larratt a ‘how to’ primer on doing a self done meatotomy; the tools needed (which included hemostats, surgical scissors and silver nitrate which was common in that time period as a cauterization method) as well as the step by step process to successfully complete what should have been a basic DIY procedure.
Shannon ended up in the Emergency Room when things went wrong; an excerpt from the hand written journal entry about the incident appears in the 2002 book ModCon: The secret world of extreme modification. Shannon confessed to me that he was too impatient to wait for the proper tools, so instead of using hemostats he used a homemade contraption using rubber bands to supply tension and regular scissors to do the cutting. I’m not sure he even bothered with the cautery. The combination of these factors caused excessive bleeding and the ER trip as well as the end of me giving DIY advice to anyone.
Which brings us to Shannon’s bloody forehead.
While living in Philadelphia, Shannon decided to get a set of forehead implants (which I believe were inspired by a race from the Star Trek Deep Space Nine series called Cardassians) that he wasn’t 100% happy with. He felt that the left one was slightly crooked and with the artist who did the implants already back on the road so with the help of his roommate decided to go the home surgery route to remove them despite not having the proper tools.
Did you know that a the flat part of a fork handle can be used in place of a dermal elevator?
Shannon contributed this photo (as part of a set) to the SPCOnline site in 1998 if memory serves with the playful caveat of not learning his lesson the first time.