The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga

The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga

Publisher: Silverlens
Photographer: Jake Verzosa
Book dimensions: 8.25 x 10 in
Year: 2014

Winner, Steidl Book Award Asia 2016

About the book

A photobook of portraits documenting the last generation of women from indigenous communities in Kalinga, northern Philippines, whose bodies are extensively adorned with traditional batok tattoos.

Design notes

The portraits are printed on a semi-coated stock, giving it a slight sheen without the distracting glare of gloss, closer to the feel of the authentic gallery prints. The black-and-white images are rendered in a subtle duotone for a deeper tonal range. The spacious layout allows the reader to appreciate the portraits one at a time, contextual details placed discreetly on the facing page. The accompanying essays and visual glossary are printed on a gray-toned matte stock to differentiate. The cover is simple, dominated by an iconic image of the famed mambabatok Whang-ud, making the book itself an object worthy of display. The open-case binding and the raw board edges give a rough texture to the book, echoing the rugged beauty of the tattoo tradition's mountain environment. The exposed black thread recalls the soot-based ink that is embedded into the skin, the dark lines displayed proudly like one would a traditional tattoo.

Related links

Buy via Sold out!
Official site: Jake Verzosa


Book photographs: Jake Verzosa