This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
"When you get a tattoo one thing is certain: It will hurt," said tattoo artist Sotiris five years ago, while giving me a tattoo. I know how much it hurt for me, but I wondered what getting inked was like for other people – and how they dealt with their pain. So last month, I visited several tattoo studios in Athens to photograph the faces of some of those people. That main thing I learned from the experience was that not only did it hurt for everyone, but that they also all enjoyed that pain to a certain degree. Everyone turned red and swore like a sailor during their session, yet the moment it was all over, an expression of relief and happiness would be drawn on their faces. It made the whole thing feel almost like a purification ritual.
I asked Jenio from Dildo Tattoo Studio about the role of pain in tattoo: "I believe that pain rids you of negative energy. Everybody hurts but their reaction to the pain depends on their character – some people squirm and grumble while others are dead silent. But in the end, everyone leaves with a smile and a 'thank you'. That must mean something."
More on tattoos on VICE: