Self Amputee Tracings: Toecutter

rogfootoneI received a hand tracing from a self amputee for the first time in 1994 when a pen-pal from Kentucky who I had met through Ken Schein’s Unique included it in one of our correspondences. I had photographed several amputees by that point and was aquatinted with several others through mail exchanges but I had never thought to ask for a tracing of their altered anatomy.

My friend, it turned out, had been making hand tracings to swap with other amputees and admirers and with that in mind, I began asking my other amputee friend to document their modifications via tracings, including my friend Roger (Stonehenge, Toecutter, Subtracting) who sent me his in December of 1997.

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community outside of academia. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.


  1. Do the folks in the voluntary amputation community view voluntary castrated men as part of their community ? There are big differences since castration changes your body chemistry and who you are on the gender spectrum, but it is a voluntary amputation

    1. Speaking generally- no.
      Community amongst the different modification disciplines is a relatively recent concept. When I first started meeting heavily modified folks, tattooing was really the only thing everyone had in common; people mostly kept to themselves. Even at the first ModCon, you’d see the groups forming with folks with similar mods sticking close to each other. As BME, SPC and Modcon diluted things you found more new people wanting to BE modified, not be an amputee or eunuch or whatever and they started doing what we’d call “checklist modification”, making sure they had their tongue splitting and their subincision and their scars, and their implants and their amputations.

      Even most of the amputees I knew thought the ‘bme amputees’ weren’t like them.

      I’m sure you can find some amps who consider castration as part of their community, but generally no.

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