Pittsburgh is a safe place, I always meet the nicest people on the streets and in the alleys… Yes, you heard me; the alleys. Recently I was walking out of the side door of a parking garage and came across this gentleman having a smoke in the alley. What initially caught my eye was the smoke and the gritty feel of the alley, a great street shot was brewing. When I got closer I noticed all of the tattoos and asked if he wouldn’t mind letting me photograph them. The next question was an obvious one, the answer was a little surprising though:
Q. Where did you get your tattoos?
Q. Really? How do you make a tattoo in prison?
I don’t remember everything because it was actually quite involved but I’ll give you what I remember:
A. We would make tattoo guns out of a small motor. We’d take the motor apart, put a pen or pencil eraser on one end, use the pen or mechanical pencil shaft to guide the needle, heat and bend a toothbrush to steady the pencil shaft, use guitar string for a needle, attach needle to the motor after threading it through the pen or pencil shaft, then power the engine and use.
If I were an investigative reporter I imagine I would have to build one for myself and give my wife’s cat a tattoo… But lucky for her, I’m not. Prison or not, this guy was very polite and actually quite clever.
If you haven’t already, bookmark DecisiveShot.com and check back regularly to keep up with The Streets Of Pittsburgh series. If you spend much time in the city then there is a good chance I’ll see you soon (hope that doesn’t sound creepy).