Last summer I agreed to appear in an article for the Guardian newspaper’s “Weekend” magazine. There would be a photographic portrait, a close up of my tattooed hands and a short written piece detailing my relationship to my hands, my conceptual take on the tattooed body and my personal investment in handmade crafts. Seduced by the journalistic patter and the calibre of the other participants (Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Courtney Pine) I romanticised that this mainstream validation might be of interest to some very dear friends of mine, who have at times struggled to come to terms with my somewhat troubling physicality. The Guardian is their title of choice and it seemed like an article in which they could find some pride. I pushed aside my scepticism and agreed.
When the article appeared, it was exactly as promised, beautiful photography, thoughtful vignettes and a wide variety of people from disparate backgrounds, both well known and more everyday. However, my portrait and interview where absent. I had been demoted to a startlingly beautiful picture of my right hand, a beautiful picture with no purpose other than decorating the foot of the contents page. I had been reduced, objectified, disembodied. My initial anger has subsided, but a question remains in its wake: Why is it so wounding to me to have my voice restricted, my text deleted?