Tattoos & Rescues featured on The Daily Share

February 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
TATTOOS & RESCUES featured on HLN's The Daily Share
Save Them puppy posing with his foster dad Richard Burgess
Editor's note: Nashville photographer Brian Batista has been on a mission. For the past several years, he has been taking time to shoot portraits of rescued pets and their tattooed owners. He explained the connection he saw when we talked with him about his project. You can see more of his Tattoos & Rescues galleries on his website.
HLN: How did you come up with the idea of photographing rescue pets and tattooed owners?
Brian Batista: I found inspiration for this project everywhere. People who have a lot of tattoos (say more than 30%) have always been sort of castigated & vilified by society. Gone are the days of tattoo subculture in dark, scary tattoo shops, tattoos are everywhere and they are just as much an expression of who a person is, what they represent and their stories as their clothing. For some reason, people think it’s OK to judge someone based on their appearance and nothing could be further from the truth. One of my good friends has a Jason Voorhees ("Friday the 13th") tattoo on his Adam's apple and he is married with four kids and a business owner.
At the same time, I noticed a correlation between judging people on appearance and judging animals like pit bulls based on appearance as the only requisite.  Now there is breed-specific legislation (BSL) that gives law enforcement organizations the right to retrieve these “banned breeds” regardless of temperament or history, no questions asked. The argument is if they look aggressive then they must be aggressive. BSL was enacted in the guise of keeping the public safe and it simply doesn’t work. Even people in pit bull rescues have a hard time picking out a pit bull from a group of dogs, which makes enforcing BSL a guessing game, and most of the time the guess is wrong.
HLN: How many photos have you taken?
Batista: As of this writing, I have eight galleries posted on my website from the Tattoos & Rescues project. Some galleries are larger than others depending on the comfort level of the pets at their photo shoot. On average, each gallery has about 10-15 photos each. I tend to lean toward having the sessions being as fun as possible for pets and people alike. I approach other genres of photography the same way also.
HLN: What's the reaction to the project?
Batista: When the project started in 2012, I had a vision of the rescuer wanting a print, the adopter wanting a print, and I will want a print of the end results.  You know the old saying "Beware what you wish for?"  Ha!
The response has been nothing short of mind-blowingly awesome and positive. There are people from all over the world that have been extremely supportive and that is awesome because I want the pets involved, their rescue organizations and the rescuers to get as much attention as possible. Rescue organizations cannot survive without support whether it be fostering, adopting, volunteering, donating, fundraising, etc.
Everyone can do something and I think that is my takeaway message from the project.
HLN: Which is your favorite?
Batista: Wow. Diplomacy out the window. *Laughs. I honestly love them all. I have yet to meet a rescued animal or their foster or adoptive parents that I didn't have a connection with. People do have their own energies they bring to the shoots but the pets are just phenomenal.  After everything they have been through, to still trust humans, to not do them any harm is an inspiration to me.
The pets make me laugh and we roll around and play once the shoot is over. We have lots of fun. I get slobbered on and danced on. It's the most fun I've had in a long time.
HLN: What's ahead for the project?
Batista: There are a lot of awesome ideas for shoots this year that are coming up so you definitely want to check out my website. This year is going to be exciting! My dream for this project is to one day have the Tattoos & Rescues name be a festival of music, art, tattoos and adoptable pets. A celebration of love, art, self-expression, the joy of being alive and celebrating those that work so hard to make a better life for others who can only repay them with kisses. And farting. *Laughs.

 


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