I wish I could have photographed the look on everyone else’s faces when I told them that I was having a portrait session with my tattoo artist, her girlfriend and their baby Bluu. Okay, okay. His real name is Javier, she’s not exactly just my tattoo artist (she’s one of the greatest tattoo artists in Lansing, Michigan), and her girlfriend was only there for half the shoot. Alas, none of that is the point! The reaction to the general description I gave was disgusting. It was almost as if someone was to imply that this amazing hero of a parent couldn’t be photographing the miracle of the love that her and her significant other share with their beautiful son. It’s wrong and I had to share this phenomenon with all of you.
She’s Not Mommy, She’s Batman.
Before I knew Ofie as a tattoo artist or an artist, I knew her as the cute girl who was the same height as me who always had something Batman themed on her when she came to visit my art class. It was my senior year of high school, I lived in a different state, and I was intrigued. She was different and I wanted to get to know her, and that was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Years passed and she not only became my tattoo artist, but one of my biggest heroes. No matter how much business she got or how much more talented she became, there were still things that never changed. She was still as short as me, she was still completely sweet to me, and she still hugged me every time she saw me. Oh! And she was still Batman!
As we ventured to our location for this shoot, a lovely park on the south side of Lansing, she told me of how Javier was calling her mom. My eyes widened in shock almost immediately. He’s not even a year old but was mumbling the word “Mummmmm” in no time. I leaned over, laughed and told him “She’s not Mommy, she’s batman.” He looked completely clueless but somewhere in my mind, I imagined that he knew exactly what I meant. His mother faces one of the most strengthening, most judged situations in the world and it’s almost as if it doesn’t faze her at all! Ofie is inked up, from head to toe with so many beautiful pieces and has segued into making tattooing her full-time career. As if that doesn’t already sound phenomenal, she and her girlfriend Krystal have been managing the task of raising a baby with smiles and laughter.
Ofie has not jeopardized her art, her career or her parenthood. She does it all. She’s a real hero.
For the first half of the shoot, shot early morning, we were having trouble getting Javier to smile. It seemed that the only time he was in his element was when we let him sit outside of his stroller. It was like seeing someone work diligently on a car. He tested each wheel before he crawled to the next and I couldn’t help but capture the intensity of the moment.
Once Javier had both of his parents there, he seemed to cheer up completely!
If this post didn’t have you squealing and aww’ing, I don’t know what to tell you bub! If you’re ever in Lansing, you should hit up Ofie because her tattoos are phenomenal!
What Have I Been Up To? Oh Not Much…
Just being turned into a drag queen! Stay tuned Sunday to hear all about my shoot with Shaquille and Devin and see how I was transformed from the photographer you’re used to to this FABULOUS drag queen!