Work: NY Ink

10 Apr 2009

Here’s a short doc piece I just did for Format magazine. What you’ll see is a brief look inside the world of the tattoo artist. Three NYC buzzers talk about process, inspiration, and adventures with the needle. We visit inside a popular Harlem parlor, The Black Ink Gallery, and an underground space in Queens.

What you won’t see is the Pit Bull Terrier owned by one of the artists who bit my leg and took away a large strip of denim. It was, probably, one of the best shots I’ve ever framed. Unfortunately, I didn’t press record in time. Here is the dog, appropriately named Perro, about a second and a half before what I affectionately refer to as the incident.

my own personal zapruder film.

my own personal zapruder film


  1. 12 Apr 2009 Craig

    Damn that’s nice homie!!!! Beautiful. Great choice of music too. What did you shoot with? Who did the post? A very rich piece!

  2. 12 Apr 2009 Kevin Rowe

    The contrast between what Red Hat is saying and his painful facial expressions is great.


  3. 12 Apr 2009 raafi

    Thanks Craig. I shot on a buddy’s Canon GL1 DV camera. Old school, baby! I think it’s 8 years old, which feels ancient. But it takes good pictures, doesn’t it? I did the post myself too. The music is courtesy of my buddy Epick and his friend Sara Genn.

    @kevin: I got a great shot of Red Hat biting his nails too. It was a strange feeling being so close to someone who was in such obvious pain, but who also seemed to be enjoying it, or at least looking forward to the results. “You know girls love tats,” he said to me at one point. I couldn’t disagree.

  4. 1 Jun 2009 Joelle

    This is a really dope piece. I am definitely going to check out this tattoo shop when I am in Harlem.