Jul 8, 2022
Jul 8, 2022

Tattooing, NYC

New York in the Forties

Tattooing, NYC

1940, printed later

Andreas Feininger

(American, 1906–1999)

Gelatin silver print

Gift of Sharon & Del Zogg in honor of Wendy Watriss and Frederick C. Baldwin (1929-2021), co-founders of Fotofest, Houston, Texas 2022.77


Did you know?

Disguising black eyes was a service offered by barbers and tattoo artists in the early twentieth century.


Tattoo artists and barbers often shared storefronts in the early and mid-twentieth century, as is evident here from the signs and barber pole. Day laborers looking for work on New York’s docks or construction sites were unlikely to be hired if they bore evidence of having been involved in a fight, so barbers and tattoo artists offered “black eyes made natural.” A hot towel reduced the swelling and leeches were applied around the eye to suck out excess blood. If color still remained, make-up would complete the repair.

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