Making the Internal External

Richard Sawdonsmith vein tattoos

Yesterday was World Aids Day and British photographer, Richard Sawdon Smith, features the testing process through his body and photography.

Blood tests are part of the regular routine of someone who is HIV+, even if they are feeling healthy. The invasion of the body, the puncturing of the skin, by needle can happen 4 times a year or more. Used as a diagnostic tool to reveal what the body is doing internally, how healthy one โ€˜reallyโ€™ is.

The tattoo process replicates the actions of the nurse by puncturing skin via a needle, drawing blood as part of the process. The tattoo of the veins and arteries making the internal external, the invisible visible. A permanent mark much the same way that HIV is still permanent โ€“ there is no cure.

Richard is Director of Studies at University College for the Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham, England, Co-editor of the forthcoming AIDS Cultures e-Journal, and a member of the Visual AIDS Archive Project. His photography and writings have been featured in numerous books.

Street Anatomy gallery show Richard Sawdon Smith heart tattoo Richard’s amazingly detailed anatomical heart tattoo (upper left) was also featured in the Street Anatomy group gallery show.

6 thoughts on “Making the Internal External”

  1. I’m quite disappointed it’s not relating to the owner’s anatomy, or that needle wouldn’t look like it was in the wrong place ๐Ÿ™

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