Ex-gang members' tattoos digitally erased in new start - Telemundo Amarillo

Ex-gang members' tattoos digitally erased in new start

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Ex-gang member David Pina allowed photographer Steven Burton to take a photograph, which Burton digitally altered to remove his tattoos. (Source: Steven Burton) Ex-gang member David Pina allowed photographer Steven Burton to take a photograph, which Burton digitally altered to remove his tattoos. (Source: Steven Burton)

(RNN) - A photographer making a book digitally altered portraits of former gang members to reveal their skin without tattoos. 

Steve Burton, who photographed 27 former gang members, found his first participants from among ex-gang members being helped by Homeboy Industries. The Los Angeles, CA, program offers job training and programs that include tattoo removal. 

It "took a while to find the right subjects that were tattooed heavily enough, especially on the face, to make sense of the concept," he told petapixel.com. "Once I would photograph a Homeboy, I'd ask them to help me find others who would be interested in participating." 

His Kickstarter campaign to fund Skin Deep: Looking Beyond the Tattoos ends Nov. 12, 2016. The hardback book will have about 170 pages and interviews with the ex-gang members.  

"They revealed very personal, sometimes shocking, details about the abuse, violence and drug addiction they had suffered for most of their lives," Burton wrote on Kickstarter.

"Every story was shocking to me," Burton told People.com. "I was less interested in the crimes they had committed and more interested in the process they took in turning around their lives. "Gangs are born out of abuse and desperation, and there is much pain and abuse involved."

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