OLD HISTORY

 

Models: Ayoub Israa & Rocsik Tibor

 
 
 
 

History of the images

 
 

Tibor was the one who reached out to me for a regular photoshoot. He didn't have a specific idea but was open to almost anything. The only request he had is that he needs to cover up some old tattoos. I didn't think much of it. I asked him to share some pictures, and I soon realised his tattoos represented a different kind of "secret".

I was thinking about my response for a few days, and I ended up deciding to decline. Given my Jewish heritage and my views, it didn't feel right. So I called him and broke the news. He was quite devastated and claimed that he tried to hint at the situation. This whole ideology is behind him, it was a "stupid thing" from his younger years.

I think secretly, I was hoping he would say something like that. I told him if this really is the case, I am willing to do a photoshoot, but only if he doesn't cover up the tattoos. We make them the primary focus of the images. He paused for a second and asked what exactly I had in mind. I had no plans, but as a sudden idea, I said let's get a girl with African heritage model with you and you guys can just hold hands. He loved it.

A black girl, a jew and an ex-nazi walk into a studio...

I started looking for our female model, and the first choice and first one I've reached out to was Israa. I have explained our project, she asked for some time to think, but next day she was in - "the message of the project is especially important in today's times" - she said.

I can't say that the two weeks before the shoot was passing by fast, and the number of hours that I slept each night started to decrease... this hasn't happened to me in a long time. Yes, everyone was nice when I talked to them online, but in the end I will have to make the shooting work with a guy who has Hitler's portrait on his back posing with a girl who was clearly the subject of his hate - and vica versa.

Tibor claimed he moved on, but I needed to move on too, and so did Israa. In the end, the story of this man is exactly what we want, right?

Let it go

 

The day of the shoot came, and my models stood next to each other in front of the black backdrop, and my worries turned out to be not true. There was some tension, of course - at least that's how I felt it. Tibor repeatedly mentioned that he is nervous and he is not a professional model, so I should instruct him. At the beginning of the shoot, he apologised for "having a beer belly", Israa responded, "let it go" and I think he did.

Moving on

After the shoot, I was proud of my models. They showed a level of acceptance and respect that I was not sure existed outside of books.

Tibor is saving up for having his tattoos covered up (or having it removed), and he hopes these images will help him find a tattoo artist or specialist who can help him out. If you are that person or know someone, please reach out to me, and I will make sure to connect you two. I'm thinking of documenting that part of his journey too.

Models: Ayoub Israa & Rocsik Tibor

Assistance: Kovács Dorottya & Takács Márton

 
 
Know someone who can help removing or covering up the tattoos?