Michael Bradley is an Auckland, New Zealand based photographer, whose latest project, titled Puaki, features the Māori people with their face tattoos removed. And don’t think this is just another Photoshop project – the technique the photographer used is much more unique.
When European settlers were photographing the Māori people in the 1850’s they noticed that their tattoos appeared invisible in the photographs. This was due to the method of taking the photographs, called wet plate photography. Certain shades of colors seem to disappear on darker skin and that was what gave Michael the idea to start the project. The project draws attention to the suppression of tā moko – the ancient Māori art of face and body marking. The art of tā moko seems to have undergone a renaissance in the 1990’s and Michael’s project depicts how a culture erased by colonizers can come back against all odds.
See Michael’s amazing works for yourself in the gallery below!