If you have always been in the loop with the latest news, then you might be aware of a group called Homeboy Industries based in downtown Los Angeles. The aim of the group is to help youth who are at risk as well as ex-gang members. Homeboy are offering them different training and programs including a mental health counselling, tattoo removal as well as training to get them ready for work.
There is a book project called Skin Deep that dived deeper into how tattoos can impact the self-image of a person. It contains photographs of ex-gang members with heavy tattoos. There it can be seen what they look like before they got their tattoos with the help of Photoshop.
As soon as the subjects on the book saw their photos with clean skin and no tattoos, they convey a powerful emotion.
The project is the brainchild of Steven Burton who is a photographer. The book contains images of 27 different homeboys and homegirls. Among them is Francisco Flores.
Flores shared how he lived his life before getting tattoos. He recounted that his childhood memories were all in South Central and his life was rough then. His parents are both addicts and he was forced to take care of himself. This is the reason why at a very young age he got into a trouble which landed him in prison. After getting out of prison, the parole officer assigned to him insisted that he should go to Homeboy Industries to get his tattoos removed and this is where his new life begins.
Before the removal, Flores estimated that he had more than a thousand tattoos in his face and body. Ink was all over his cheeks, eyebrows, jawline, lips and eyelids. He admitted that just by looking at him, people get scared or shocked.
After meeting Steven Burton, actual photographs of the homeboys and homegirls were taken. It was quick to take a photo, what took longer hours are to Photoshop them in order to clear out all the tattoos. His tattoo-less face was also seen by Francisco’s kids and it has the biggest impact which made him decide to finally undergo tattoo removal.
If you want to help other people with your Photoshop skills, enrol at a Photoshop training course to learn more.