Baybayin is an ancient Philippine script which was first recorded in the 16th century. The term baybay means “to spell,” or “spelling” in Tagalog. The Spanish made sure to maintain documents of the script during the colonial era. 

This project, titled Baybayin, explores the script as it is most commonly found today: as an artistic expression of one’s Filipino heritage. Baybayin takes a look at tattoos and the connection between a desire to express individuality and a connection to one’s roots. The first set of images depict everyday situations: waking up in the morning, spending a day in the park, or getting ready for the weekend, situations where the tattoos reveal themselves ever so slightly, unbeknownst to those who have the tattoos. The latter 3 images, studio images, invoke an internal space, a personal and subconscious space. 

The photographs propose a duality in the the choice to have these tattooed. Tattoos are permanent, with each carrying a different meaning. There are, however, often covered up and you would only really know they are there if you are shown them or if you chance upon them. The tattoos seemingly want to escape being concealed, and show themselves when we least expect them to.

(click the images to enlarge them)