Photographer Jake Verzosa was just a child when he first encountered a tattooed woman of Kalinga.
“I spent my childhood in Tuguegarao, and I remember seeing a tattooed woman for the first time outside school. I had been told by my classmates not to talk to them because they were headhunters. It remained a mystery for me,” he recalled.
After college, his interest was rekindled after seeing images from his friend Bahaghari’s travels. He was fascinated by their stories.
Verzosa spent three years taking pictures of Kalinga’s tattooed women. “I would take time away from work to go up to Kalinga. I wanted to document the disappearing traditions and practices in my region. I think it’s necessary to be doing this,” he explained.
Working with Silverlens, Jake has put together the images of 40 tattooed women in his first book, “The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga.” The book will be launched today at the Silverlens booth at Paris Photo in the city’s historic Grand Palais in France.
It’s a labor of love that has taken long to finish. “The images have been staring at me for almost four years. I also did a printing residency in France last year where I did my final selection,” he said.
The book will be launched in Manila in February 2015 at Art Fair Philippines. “The complete body of work will also be exhibited in Silverlens in March 2015,” Jake said.
The launch of “The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga” by Jake Verzosa will be held at Silverlens, Booth D14 at Paris Photo Grand Palais today, Nov. 14, from 4 p.m. onwards. Visit www.parisphoto.com/paris and www.silverlensgalleries.com. Find Jake on Instagram: @jakeverzosa.