30 January

In Memory Of Grandpa. It’s Over.

by Jon Katz
You Did It
You Did It

I love this photo of a 16-year-old girl holding her boyfriend’s hand after she got a tattoo on her shoulder – “bulletproof” – in honor of her grandfather, a Korean War vet who got the nickname in combat. He died last year and she and he mother, sister and boyfriend came to Alex Lawrence’s Mountainside Tattoo in Bellows Falls, Vermont, the boy held her hand the entire time, she was nervous, and he permitted himself a smile when it was over, I love this tableau, it is such an American photo. I was thinking of Robert Frank and his “Americans” photo book, a classic.

This is my favorite of the Vermont photos, the others are up on Facebook. Vermont is considered the country’s only truly progressive state, I’m not sure what that means, Vermont is beautiful but in many ways a poor state. One reason it is beautiful and remains so untarnished by the ravages of corporate-controlled America is that there are few corporations in Vermont, good jobs are hard to come by, everybody seems to do a bunch of things. I admire Alex Lawrence, who runs Mountainside Tattoos in Bellows Falls, he is a gifted artist and has become a friend, he just bought the building his tattoo parlor is in and he will have a tough few years making mortgage payments and fixing up the building.

I trust Alex completely in the making of our tattoos, he is conscientious, creative and patient. I am grateful for this touching scene, this American tableau.

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