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Body Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh Hardcover – September 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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  • Body Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ina Saltz is an art director, designer, writer, and professor whose areas of expertise are typography and magazine design. She’s a regular columnist for STEP Inside Design magazine and writes for other design magazines, including Graphis.

Wendi Koontz has illustrated for many periodicals, including The New York Times, New York Press, and Girl’s Life magazine. She also lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810970503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810970502
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although this charming little book is a quick read, it deserves to be returned to many times, to really admire and appreciate all of the unique, amazing, and well-done tattoos on display therein. In recent years, the old stereotypes of body modifications and the people who get them have been changing for the better. This book can only help in that endeavor. Far from displaying a bunch of bikers, criminals, delinquents, soldiers, and sailors, the type of people who are stereotypically associated with tattoos, these are people from a wide range of walks of life. Many of them are professionals and educated, and all put a lot of thought into these tattoos. And far from being the stereotypical fare of skulls, hearts, roses, and pin-ups girls, the tattoos themselves are also from a very diverse sampling.

The book was inspired by a typographic tattoo which Ms. Saltz saw on the subway one day, and after that discovery (which her subject happily let her photograph), she began seeing more and more tattoos that contained words, letters, and typographical symbols instead of the more standard traditional pictorial images. These people used a wide variety of typefaces for these tattoos, and sometimes even designed their own typefaces. I loved the ambiagram tattoos, the ones designed in a typeface that lets the word be read the same upside-down as it is when viewed rightside-up.
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Format: Hardcover
Acknowledging both the history of tattoos with letters and the ubiquity and social acceptability of tattoo art today, the brief but informative introduction to BODY TYPE sets forth the premise of the book: to showcase those who have chosen to tattoo messages in the form of western letters somewhere on their bodies.

The breadth of work represented here is astounding, and smartly edited. Way beyond "MOM" in a scrolled banner, the viewer is shown not only letterforms tattooed for the sake of their own beauty, sometimes incorporating body parts (eg a nipple) for punctuation; but also letterforms composing words of great meaning to the tattooed. The most moving example of the latter is the subject who tattooed the word "forgiveness" over the word "hatred" he had scarred into his arm years earlier. The hatred and later forgiveness refer to his mother who had committed suicide.

The content ranges from art, like the writer Shelley Jackson's "Skin" project, to political statements such as the Dutch group of 33 individuals tattooed with lyrics from the National Anthem. The tattoos were done in protest to the Queen's decree that the anthem be played only in the presence of a member of the royal family. She later acquiesced.

But there are plenty of lighter moments to look at, with less expected nods to pop culture: a Ouija board, Krispy Kreme logos, and even a series of ambiagrams (words that read the same forwards and upright as well as upside-down and backwards), popularized by The da Vinci Code's Tom Brown in Angels and Demons.

Each tattoo photographed is captioned with a brief, pithy statement from the person sporting the tattoo. Even in cases where the choice of tattoo may seem obvious, the quote adds further insight.
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Format: Hardcover
I had absolutely no interest in tatoos, but am interested in design. When I saw this book, I was intrigued by the use of type in such unusual contexts. The author's remarkable eye, insight, and ability to explain nuance gave me an entirely new perspective on tatoo, typography, and design. This is a coffee table book destined to be well-worn very soon.
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Format: Hardcover
What motivates people to use their bodies as a medium for self-expression? In an elegantly designed and beautifully produced book, BODY TYPE showcases over 300 typographic tattoos and reveals the meaning behind the message. Whether your primary interest is tattoos or typography, this book is an intimate look at the juxtaposition of both.
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Format: Hardcover
an inspiring and artful documentation of an interesting new movement in tattooing and design. i think this book will serve to expand thinking with regard to possibilities within tattoo design, thereby helping to propel the art form forward--a valuable service in a field in which innovative design should be more common.

the book will be of particular interest to graphic designers, typographers and tattoo aficionados; and it works well both as a coffee table skimmer and a more serious study.

would love to see a follow-up volume, perhaps with a directory of tattooists who specialize in typographic tattoos.
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Format: Hardcover
Ina Saltz, Body Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh (Abrams Image, 2006)

The idea of an all-text tattoo is brilliant. I can't believe I never thought of it. A lot of people, however, have, and Ina Saltz has made a project out of documenting these tattoos. The result (at least, up till now) is Body Type, a fine book of photography depicting these tattoos, with the expected short captions containing explanations by the owners of the tattoos about their reasons for getting them. (These are, at times, unintentionally hilarious.)

As enamored as I am of the idea behind the book, I'm not as much so where some of the actual photographs are concerned. Many of them are nicely done, but there are a few that just don't work; too dark, too light, too washed out, too something, depending on the photograph. Not a good thing in a book of photography, one thinks. Still, there are enough good photographs here depicting such an excellent idea that it's still worth your time. *** ½
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