Vince Hemingson


Tattoo Expert Vince Hemingson is a writer/adventurer, photographer, world traveller, best-selling author and filmmaker. His curiosity and passion for body art over the past two decades led to two books, two documentary films and one of the internet's largest and most critically-acclaimed websites about all things tattoo-related. Vince got the first of his many tattoos in 1996.


Vince launched the Vanish Tattoo website in 1999, as a vehicle to share his research into the traditional tattooing practices of indigenous peoples all over the world. Within a few years of its launch, the site attracted over twenty million visitors per year. Vince writes extensively about tattoo history, their place within popular culture and the meanings behind popular tattoo designs and symbols.

Vince's 2002 award-winning documentary film, The Vanishing Tattoo, which he co-produced, co-wrote and co-hosted, was broadcast on National Geographic International and was seen by an audience of tens of millions of people, in over one hundred countries around the world.

Vince is the author of two books on tattoos, The Tattoo Directory: The Essential Reference for Body Art, and, Alphabets and Scripts: The Tattoo design Directory.

Vince's first book of photography, The Tattoo Project: body. art. image. was published in 2012 by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. and has been a commercial and critical success.  It was a wonderful art project featuring 11 Vancouver photographers and over 100 tattooed subjects, ranging in age from 18 to 80.  A documentary film of the project is currently in post-production.

Vince is a popular speaker and lecturer on the subject of tattoos, tattoos history and their place within popular culture.


Vince has bachelor degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Victoria.

He also graduated from the Photography Certificate Program at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada.

A Message from Vince Hemingson

After many years of researching the history, rituals and social significance of tattooing in dozens of different cultures around the world, I continue to be struck by the power and influence that tattoos can have in people's lives.  This quote I gave in an interview more than a decade ago sums it up for me perfectly, "Beauty is only skin deep, but a tattoo goes all the way to the bone."

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