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Body Language, The Art Behind the Idea

Many people know me as a wedding and portrait photographer, but not many people know about my obsession with tattoos and other forms of body art. The human body is is incredible and beautiful and I love to learn about how different cultures adorn their bodies.

As a grad student finishing my last semester at the University of Baltimore, my class were given one word to design an entire project around-Language.

Deciding to do a photography project called “Body Language” was my natural instinct. During the semester, I photographed and interviewed several tattooed folks and began learning the unique stories behind their art. I’ve been re-exploring the project recently and I’ve begun to include other forms of body art, including body paint, henna, piercings, traditional body jewelry and brands. I got inspired to add body paint to the collection after attending the Tuaca Body Art Ball on assignment for Baltimore.Metromix.com. The show was absolutely amazing and so well choreographed. Each “canvas” was painted to match the performance piece they were involved in. I wrote about it last year and you can read it here. The link to my photos are gone, but you can see them on my flickr page.

Tuaca Body Art Ball- Baltimore-LaKaye Mbah

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a press pass to this year’s ball, but I still attended and had a great time. I even got to meet some of the artists and performers, thanks to Amy Walker, who’s been painting bodies for more than 10 years. Shortly before this year’s ball, I began contacting body painters to collaborate on a project involving models painted to look like animals. In case you were wondering, I got newly inspired watching marathons of America’s Next Top Model.

I put out the call for painters and Sophy Tuttle, a fantastic artist and face painter enthusiastically got back to me. I also found some great models on Model Mayhem and we are now working on expanding the project.

Here is one of the photos from a recent shoot.

Body Language by LaKaye Mbah-Peacock

Maurissa at The Living Well is allowing me to host an art show and I’m planning to unveil part 1 of the Body Language Project then. The project is ongoing & to get involved, email me at lakayem@gmail.com.

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