Inked in memory: Photos showcase Boston bombing tattoos

Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:50am EDT
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By Scott Malone

BEVERLY, Massachusetts (Reuters) - As he sat in a tattoo artist's chair a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing having a line-drawing of the city's skyline inked onto his arm, Christopher Padgett looked at the people around him and got an idea.

The crowd at Good Mojo Tattoo in the Boston suburb of Beverly, Massachusetts, also wanting to commemorate the attack that left the city shaken, inspired him to pick up his camera.

"It was young couples and dudes and people who had no tattoos at all and I thought it was interesting to document who these people were," said Padgett, 39. "You see people with tattoos all the time, but you never go, 'Oh, what's that mean?' You don't talk to them."

The fruit of Padgett's labor - a series of photographs titled "Bled for Boston" - will go on exhibit at the Boston Center for Adult Education on April 3 and run through the end of the month, keeping alive the memory of that fateful day.

On April 15, 2013, two homemade pressure-cooker bombs placed at the crowded finish line of the prestigious race killed three people and injured 264, in the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Three days later, the two ethnic Chechen brothers accused of the bombing killed a university police officer in an unsuccessful getaway attempt that led to a day-long manhunt and lockdown of most of the Greater Boston area.

For his exhibit, Padgett photographed about 75 people, including nurses, police officers and spectators standing near the finish line when the bombs went off.

One of his subjects, Dan Marshall, 33, was waiting for a friend to finish the race when the blasts went off. He said he was one of the first to reach the youngest casualty of the attack, 8-year-old Martin Richard, and stayed with him until medical personnel arrived.   Continued...

Photographer Chris Padgett (R) gestures during an interview at a tattoo studio in Beverly, Massachusetts, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter