Bled For Boston: Photographer Wants Pictures of Marathon Memorial Tattoos

Chris Padgett is putting together a gallery of images for the first anniversary of the Marathon bombings.

Photo via Chris Padgett

Photo via Chris Padgett

In the days after the Boston Marathon bombing people looked for ways they could help and show support for the city.

Some volunteered, some donated blood, or money to the One Fund, and others decided to show their solidarity with the city through a more permanent endeavor— in the form of a tattoo.

Now, one local photographer is setting out to document those artistic tributes, and is calling on people with a powerful story to tell to step forward and take part in his project, “Bled For Boston.”

“Bostonians everywhere showed their support for the city after the Boston Marathon bombings…I want to document the people that dedicated permanent space on their bodies as memorials to their city, first-responders, and the people who lost their lives at the Marathon,” said Chris Padgett, who is trying to create a photography exhibit to go on display on the one year anniversary of the attack, at the Boston Center For Adult Education, where he is an instructor.

Dozens of shops across the state started offering deals and discounts, in the days following the Boylston Street tragedy, and promised to deposit any money made from Boston-themed tattoos to the One Fund to help those severely wounded.

Padgett was one of those people that got artwork placed on his skin, and the day that he got his tattoo, he came up with the idea to start documenting others that did the same. “It started out where it was going to be me and this girl that I know at Good Mojo tattoos, and those who I know on Facebook and Tumblr. It was going  to be a local thing, and then it really gained traction,” said Padgett. “It grew exponentially in the matter of a couple of weeks. I think part of it was people saw that they were getting a good deal on a tattoo, but  I think a larger part was that all of the money was going to the One Fund, and that was their way of doing something.”

One of the more popular logos inked on the skin of supporters was of iconic Boston landmarks, which was created by area artist and graphic designer Aaron Bouvier for the company Hairpin Communications. He created what he calls the “One Heart Boston” design, and had it printed on bags, T-shirts and other apparel. Like the other fundraisers, proceeds benefited the One Fund.

Already, a police officer, and people who were friends with the victims, have agreed to be part of the photography exhibit, which will include their personal stories along with their portraits. “I am treating it as a story first and photo second. Even if the tattoo isn’t that dramatic, some of the stories are very intriguing,” said Padgett.

But he wants more people to come forward and share their experiences.

He is currently recruiting participants with Boston-themed tattoos to be photographed for the project, at the “Bled for Boston Open Shoot,” for drop-in portrait sessions at the BCAE on Saturday, September 14, and Sunday, September 15.  Padgett has also been working with the organizers of the Boston Tattoo Convention, which will host a four-day event at the Hynes Convention Center on Labor Day weekend. Artists will be offering sit-downs for people who want to get a Boston-themed tattoo prior to Padgett’s open call for portraits. “I thought it would be really cool to get these and document these, because a you never see them [if they are covered up], or you only see them briefly, passing on the street. And even if you saw them you wouldn’t know the story behind them, and what drove the person to get it,” he said.

For more information, or to participate in the project, visit Padgett’s Facebook page.