Miles has been tattooing for over 20 years. He worked at Frith Street Tattoo a couple of times.
The first was from around 2004-2006. Then from 2010 until August 2012. He has been friends with Danny, owner of Frith Street Tattoo for over a decade.
Miles is the reason this project happened as soon as it did.
I had been planning a video project of some kind, since February 2012. Originally it was to be centred around Valerie Vargas and myself and the trials and tribulations of creating custom or bespoke tattoo work every day. Much of this work is large scale bodysuits or at least backpieces and sleeves.
Then Chris Grosso got in touch with Valerie.
I knew that whatever Chris did with Valerie’s Tattoo Age episodes, it would touch on some of the themes that I wanted to use and the Vice team would do a great job of it. Chris interviewed and filmed me for Valerie’s Tattoo Age, which I was and always will be proud to have been part of and I love the way it turned out. I also learned a lot from being on the ‘wrong’ side of the camera.
I didn’t want to make a second-rate version of Tattoo Age, so I expanded my scope to include the other tattooers at Frith Street. In turn, I found myself wanting to interview tattooers who sit in for a short time and to guest artists.
I was content to spend the rest of 2012 refining my ideas, themes and learning the myriad technical aspects of making a digital film: From cameras, lenses, white balance, lighting techniques, audio and microphone techniques, to digital file organisation and dealing with large media files, to finding a narrative in documentary footage, whether to use a dramatic or poetic narrative, etc, etc.
Then I discovered that Miles was leaving England at the end of August 2012.
I knew I had to interview him and capture what he had to say about the history of Frith Street Tattoo and the history of tattooing in the UK before he left.
I learned a great deal of technical information on this shoot. Actually, I didn’t learn much, I discovered that I knew nothing of interview techniques, Audio recording, lighting and remembering everything that needs to be remembered when setting up a shoot. I learned the technical information later.
So far, each shoot has thrown new problems and challenges at me, so I make notes and make the effort to remember to prepare for those challenges next time. Hopefully this effort will pay off with a watchable, enjoyable, informative portrait of the workplace I call home.