The skull and crossbones on the prisoner's shoulders indicate that he's serving a life sentence, and the girl "catching" her dress with a fishing nude on his left forearm is a tattoo commonly inked to rapists.
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In jails and prisons around the world, tattoos can become a significant part of an inmate's uniform, not only marking the crime they're in for but also serving as a way to communicate with others.
In Russia, for instance, a dagger through the neck suggests that an inmate has murdered someone in prison and is available to carry out hits for others-meaning, if you see that guy walking toward your cell once all the guards have disappeared, you should run the fuck away.
Arkady Bronnikov, regarded as Russia's leading expert on tattoo iconography, recently released a collection of around photographs of criminals locked up in Soviet penal institutes.
Why did you want to publish this book? Damon Murray: These books were based around the drawings of Danzig Baldaev, a prison guard who documented the phenomenon of the Russian criminal tattoo over the course of his career.
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It was while researching Soviets that we came across an article about a retired policeman named Arkady Bronnikov. A senior expert in forensics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for more than 30 years, his duties involved visiting correctional institutions in Ural and Siberia. It was then-between the mid s and mid s-that he interviewed, photographed, and gathered information about convicts and their tattoos, building one of the most comprehensive archives to date. We knew that this collection of unique material would make a fascinating book and be a perfect addition sexy white nude big booty our previous sixy rape. It tackles the same subject, but in a more visceral manner.
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How long did it take you to collect the photos? Tattoos visited Girls. Bronnikov at his home in the Ural region in Russia. We'd previously discussed the possibility of making a book, and he very kindly agreed to talk me through ganster material and tattoos the intricacies of the subject in detail. After a few days, it became apparent that there was enough material and information to make a book that was significant in its own right.
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I then took the photographs back to London to be scanned. Do you have any information about the prisoners who were photographed?
Apart from a small section at the very beginning of the book, which reproduces a number of actual police files, all the information gathered about the criminals is done by reading the tattoos on their bodies. Their crimes vary from serious cases such as murder or rape to lesser offenses like pickpocketing and burglary. Every image carries a detailed caption explaining how individual tattoos relate to specific crimes-for example, a naked woman being burnt on a cross symbolizes a conviction for the murder of a woman.
The number of logs on the fire underneath the victim denotes the number of years of the sentence. What kind of equipment were they using to tattoo themselves?
The nude of the tattoos would have been done in a primitive, painful way. The process can take several years to complete, but a single small figure can be created in four to six hours of uninterrupted work. The instrument of choice is an adapted electric shaver, to which prisoners attach needles and an ampoule of liquid dye. A dagger through the neck ganster that a criminal has murdered someone in prison and is available to hire for further hits.
The drops of blood can signify the number of murders committed. Where do they find the dye? Scorched rubber mixed with urine is used for pigment.