Photographer Steven Burton unveils his latest project, “Skin Deep,” which involves digitally removing the tattoos of ex-gang members to expose a side they haven’t seen in years. “A friend of mine was working at Homeboy Industries and took me to see the documentary G-dog; which is about father Greg Boyle and Homeboy Industries, which is an NGO that he founded and is director of. After watching the film, I was inspired by Father Greg Boyle and equally inspired and moved by the Homeboys/girls trying to change their lives against the odds. I knew I had to do something to help spread awareness. The concept came to me when I learned that tattoo removal was such an important part of leaving the gangs,” Burton told Peta Pixel. Click here for a few bonus images.
“I photographed 27 subjects. When I came up with the project I went home and took images of tattooed gang members off the Internet and tested the concept. I converted the before-and-after portraits into a GIF image showing the tattoos visible and then disappearing, put it on my phone, and rushed over to Homeboy Industries to propose the idea,” adds Burton.