During the mid 1990s I was occasionally contracted to attend tattoo conventions on behalf of bmezine.com; while content was being contributed to the website, BME’s editor Shannon Larratt figured that targeted content- particularly the kind that was often photographed in hotel rooms on a more discrete section of the modification community- would be worth the cost of plane tickets, hotel rooms and an incredibly humble per diem.
This being the age before digital cameras were in common usage, all he asked was that I try to get at least two rolls of film per event. Forty-eight images. Before it was a community driven site (a process which started with the password wall on BME/extreme and took hold with the creation of IAM.BME in 2000) the acquisition of content was king at BME; if people didn’t have dynamic images to view, they’d move along. Having strong photos to hook viewers into sticking around long enough to encourage them to share their own was a major focus of the boom-years of the site.
This photo was taken on one of those sponsored trips, on the convention floor at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Portland, Maine. At the time, facial tattoos and body piercing were frowned upon at some conventions, so a gentleman like this was a welcome sight.
Thanks to body modification, I’ve met a fair number of extraordinary folks over the last few decades; people who’s friendship means much, much more to me than their modifications do. When I think about my friend Pineapple- who just recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Shaman Modifications studio- I think of sitting at a super crowded San Diego ice cream parlor during the yearly chaos that is San Diego Comic Con, talking to he and his Mom and sharing stories over frozen treats. I think about kicking back in recliners at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, eating chocolate chip cookies and watching Halloween V… I’m not sure that we’ve talked about modification for longer than five or ten minutes in the decade or so we’ve known each other.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: If your modifications are the most interesting thing about you- you’re doing it wrong. If you ever find yourself lucky enough to run into Pineapple- the tattoos, scars and piercings may be the first thing you notice, but if you take the time to really chat with him, you’ll find an absolute gem of a man who is much more than his mods.
This photograph was taken at the 2009 Association of Professional Piercers annual conference and exposition.
Pineapple can be found at: Shaman Modifications, http://www.shamanmodificationsatx.com