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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Your Dark Euphoria
They wanted to flower, and flowering is being beautiful.
But we want to ripen, and that means being dark and taking pains.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
In 2004, I met a young man, named Noel, in a park.
He had lots of interesting tattoos but what really drew me in was seeing the symbol for anarchy branded onto his upper chest.
I had never seen a human branded before.
He said if I followed him I’d see lots of things I’d never seen before.
Man, was he right about that.
These photos were made in 2004-05 as I photographed P.U.R.E.– People Undergoing Real Experiences–
a piercing and suspension subculture in Seattle.
As their name implies everything you see is real. The hooks are real. The spears are real. The blood and the emotions are real.
I would have had no interest in photographing them otherwise.
Lest you think this is about pain or masochism, think again.
Pain is not the goal, it is the gateway.
Katia Roberts is a photographer residing in Seattle, WA.