Tattoos and Portraits with Steve Cole of Ashlar Tattoo

I don’t feel like my portrait work or my blog would be complete without this entry.

It’s not because Ashlar Tattoo is Squamish’s most amazing private tattoo shop, and not because Steve Cole is a great guy and a killer tattooist, but simply because Steve and I have been good friends for a long time, and my life would simply not be the same if he were not part of it and I feel the need to honour that.

Steve and I met almost 20 years ago, through friends, over email.  Steve was originally from the Windsor area and was going to school at Emily Carr in Vancouver.  He was planning to move back home… back to Windsor, and people thought that he would be a good candidate to fill the vacant tattooist chair at my piercing shop called Skew Skin.

The history of the shop is long and involved, but Skew Skin became one of the top shops in the area in a very short time, and this definitely had to do with us becoming friends and teaming up to create something amazing.  Steve stayed at Skew for too short of a time before he decided to move his butt back out to Vancouver.  I ended up visiting him a year after that move and decided to move to Vancouver myself.

Our friendship, and the business we had together changed my life… and it got me a full visual history of Steve Cole’s tattoo career on my body.  So I couldn’t help but get another tattoo from him before I headed out across the country, and this would also give me a few minutes to make a portrait of my friend in his new shop.

Photogeek warning:  These photos were made with a mix of ambient and flash, using the Nikon D3 and the CLS of the 900 & 910.  Also for one of the shots, I combined two frames together to remove some of my gear from the final composition.  (tripod is necessary for this to work out nicely).  If you guys would like to see that whole process in a future post, just let me know… if I get enough demand, I’ll share the technique in detail.

So here are the photos from our session in August.  We sat for 4.5 hours tattooing my left forearm before this shoot… I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone in the future.  My left arm was all swollen and slow.

If you are in the Squamish area and you’re interested in getting a tattoo from Steve, check out:

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One Response to Tattoos and Portraits with Steve Cole of Ashlar Tattoo

  1. Michelle says:

    Hey Syx,

    I doubt you remember me, I lived in Windsor and met you when you worked at The Loop and at Skew Skin. I also moved to Vancouver just before Steve moved back 🙂

    Anyway, I am mainly a natural light shooter. But, lately I’m doing a lot of indoor family sessions and on overcast days natural light doesn’t work so well for me. I don’t want to raise my ISO too high for these sessions.

    I’m wondering how you used ambient light and flash together to produce such natural looking photos? They look like natural light to me and I would love to do this for my clients.

    These are really great by the way. Steve never seems to age 🙂

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