120 pages
20 cm x 30 cm

More than
50 portraits of
inspiring people
telling the stories
behind their

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“Why I Love Tattoos" is about

Have you ever seen somebody with a rather outspoken tattoo and you wondered ‘why’? You’re not alone. Photographer Ralf Mitsch shares this fascination. In fact, it encouraged him to do a book on the subject. His quest doesn’t stop with portraying the permanent ink on the skins of their respective owners – Ralf goes under their skin to find out about the stories behind the Maori tribal design peeping out from under the collar or the snakes that curl themselves around people’s legs and arms. Is it a religion, an addiction, a documentation of ones life or is it an impulsive decision, that will haunt the tattooed for the rest of his / her life? Why I Love Tattoos contains over 50 portraits of inspiring people, telling the stories behind their tattoos.


“Why I Love Tattoos"
at the BredaPhoto international photofestival

From 15 September until 30 October 2016, the seventh edition of BredaPhoto International Photo Festival takes place in Breda. Over 70 outspoken photographers, Dutch and from abroad, exhibit their work outdoors and in art centers in town. BredaPhoto celebrates photography.

BredaPhoto is a biannual international photo festival that is organized since 2003 in the city center of Breda, the Netherlands. Offering a mixture of fresh talent and national and international headliners, the festival hosted photographers such as Martin Parr, Carl De Keyzer, Pieter Hugo, Bloomberg and Chanarin, Todd Hido and Yamamoto Masao in past editions. The 2016 edition will take place from 15 September until 30 October. The program consists of lectures, workshops and numerous indoor and outside exhibitions throughout the city.
During seven weeks, the center of Breda and the raw Belcrum area are dedicated to photography. This year’s edition of BredaPhoto again allows the visitor to grab a bite or drink at the StadsGalerij (City Gallery), and to look at photo books or join an event. It’s next to the outdoor exhibition at the Chasséveld.
At this moment, we are still working on the festival programme. In the upcoming months, more and more exhibitions and events will be announced. This year, visitors can access all locations, exhibitions and events of BredaPhoto with a passe-partout, which is valid for seven weeks. Including a boat trip between Belcrum and the center.
Order your passe-partout

“Why I Love Tattoos"
in the Museum for Art & Design Hamburg

Exhibition:13 February until 6 September 2015

Hidden out of sight in winter, proudly displayed to all and sundry in summer: tattoos have become a ubiquitous trend. But tattoos are not just a current mass trend and a cult fashion accessory. The exhibition “Tattoo” draws our attention to the lively, innovative and highly diverse tattoo culture, focussing on artistic and technical issues and the specific cultural context. It shows international attitudes from various perspectives and picks up on the current debate. This is the first time that an exhibition has embraced such a wide palette of relationships while approaching the phenomenon with a focus on art and design. The indelible images, inscriptions and symbols of the tattoos also inspire artists and designers. One aspect pursued here is therefore the mutual exchange of influence between art, traditional tattooing and visual design. The exhibition “Tattoo” shows more than 250 pieces of work, including photographs, coloured woodcuts, paintings and sculptures, as well as video clips and audio installations. Historical tattooing instruments will also be on show and there will be information stands dealing with the colours and pigments used. The MKG also looks back in this show on the long tradition of the Hamburg tattoo scene, which had its cradle in the port milieu of the late 19th century. Legendary tattooists such as Christian Warlich and Herbert Hoffmann exemplify the beginning of a many-facetted and highly expressive art form in Hamburg, whose contemporary exponents conjure ever new triumphs from the design experiments with colour and forms. The exhibition „Tattoo“ is a production of the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, curated by Dr. Susanna Kumschick, and is on display for the first time in Germany.
Watch some images of the opening...

“Why I Love Tattoos" was nominated
for the MENDO Book Award 2014


In the press


Menschen, ihre Tattoos und die Geschichten dahinter

Ralf Mitsch ist fasziniert von Tattoos - aber noch mehr von den Tätowierten. Mit seinen Fotos spürt er ihren Geschichten und Obsessionen nach und erkundet den modernen Körperkult. In dem Buch "Why I love Tattoos", das der Fotograf Ralf Mitsch zusammen mit dem Autoren Henk van Straten veröffentlicht hat, finden sich vollkommen unkitischige Aufnahmen von Tätowierten. Die Bilder erzählen in einer klaren Sprache von den Körperkunstwerken und den Geschichten, die dahinter stecken. Tattoos sind eine Kunstform, die mittlerweile die Gesellschaft erobert hat. Institutionen wie die Bundespolizei in Deutschland haben es noch nicht begriffen, aber die dauerhafte Körperbemalung ist längst aus der Gruppe der Häftlinge und der Seeleute ausgebrochen. Der Designer und Fotograf Ralf Mitsch hat das Buch "Why I love Tattoos" zusammen mit dem Autoren Henk van Straten herausgebracht. Gemeinsam stellen sie Tätowierte und die Geschichte ihrer Tattoos vor.

Amsterdam AD BLOG

Freelance art director, designer and photographer Ralf Mitsch has always been fascinated by tattoos, which is why he created the book: Why I Love Tattoos. The idea was conceived years ago at a studio in Duintjer CS in the Vijzelstraat, where he met Holger. About this encounter: “The tattoos crawling out of Holger’s shirt, immediately rekindled my fascination for this nowadays very popular body art.” Mitsch asked him if he could take photos of his tattoos and that’s how Holger ended up becoming the very first model (and cover photo) of his book. Author/journalist Henk van Straten interviewed the myriad of models, ranging from living pieces of art, to those who don’t give much meaning to their tattoos and sometimes even seem to use their body as a scrapbook – Jordy, 24: “I wanted a fish, but my friend was drunk so it looks more like a torpedo.” Van Straten is especially interested in the stories behind the tattoos by asking questions such as: What was your first tattoo, do you regret any, what’s your favourite one, what’s your next one, and what do you think of the current tattoo trend? Read more...

Kurier - Austria
Volkskrant Magazine - The Netherlands
Zeit-Online - Germany
DOC - Photo magazine - Poland
Tatouage Magazine - France

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