“May 2016, Saitama–In the studio with traditional tattoo artist Horiren I. After spending years documenting craft in many forms, I became interested in tebori, the hand-poked form of Japanese traditional tattooing. The practice is quite taboo, as this particular style of tattoo is often associated with the underworld and criminal gangs, but the output is a level of detail that seems almost otherworldly–especially when one considers the medium is the human body rather than something inert, like clay or wood. Horiren is one of very few practitioners who still do this work by hand–a back piece like the one on which she is working here can take years to finish. The depth of the bond between her and her clients reflects the enormous amount of time spent together.”
- Michael Magers
About the artist
Born in Dallas in 1976, Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist whose work takes him all over the world. From deep dives into international food cultures to intimate views into the ateliers of traditional artisans, Magers imbues each photograph with a story. In 2013, he stepped back from a corporate career to hone a more creative life and pursue his passion for photography. Based between New York City and Austin, Texas, Michael Magers is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning travel books Rice Noodle Fish (2015) and Grape Olive Pig (2016) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His work has been exhibited internationally–from Cuba to Japan, Paris to New York–and appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, CNN, and The Washington Post, to name just a few. In 2019, he released his first monograph, Independent Mysteries, a selection images from his years on the road juxtaposed with original writing from his friends and collaborators.