Photos: Our Readers' Tattoos

Stacy Conradt asked for photos of your tattoos, and boy did you deliver! Andréa Fernandes sorted through your submissions and has assembled this gallery. To be friendly to those of you with slow Internet connections (like her), she paginated the post so all the photos aren't on one page. Which one's your favorite?

Spencer W: "I wanted this tattoo the moment I saw a news snippet about moustache tattoos being all the rage in Rhode Island... Although it's certainly not original (or probably not that outrageous), it's more than paid for itself in laughs."

Avery W: A Calvin in homage to Dad, who also has a Calvin; a phoenix to symbolize "rebirth" after a period of extreme grief and loss; and a quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream that relates to Avery's having "wandered everywhere."

Mark N: "The summer camp I work at surrounds... Lake Temalo. Being some of the people that help run the camp, my friend and I were labeled Temalo Pirates. Thus the tattoo, paying respect to the camp we grew up and at which we work."

Emily: "I'm a chef, and the laurel means victory and triumph."

Whitney L: "A small tribute to the artist Ralph Steadman."

invisible-mandy.jpgMandy Z: I have the words KNIT and PURL tattooed on my knuckles, because I am a hardcore knitter and I want the world to know it.

I also love toys and comic books, and I wear these loves on my sleeve -- quite literally. I have the most fabulous, and lovingly-detailed tattoo on my arm of Uncle Gabby and Mr. Crow -- from Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey comic.

And none of this wonderful ink would be possible if not for the outstanding talent of Tyler, from Skeleton Crew Tattoo, in Columbus, IN.

Tami M: "I designed this cross and chose to put it on my back to show that my 'faith was behind me' - guiding and pushing me."

Marc L: "It is a pixelated clover... My 5 month old daughter is named Clover, and it is a throwback to old video games..."

Walter G: "It is a 'Cheeseburger In Paradise'!!!!! A tribute to Jimmy Buffett... I also have a parrot on my leg. On my head would have hurt."

Kat: "This is my phoenix tattoo. I got it to represent the fact that I got through an abusive relationship, survived and was 'reborn' (so to speak)."

Richard Y: "...a Sun Stone, to symbolize the Mexican side of my heritage, and it is located on my right thigh."

Jenna: "My last name is Cotton and I figured that it would be cool to get the cotton logo... A few months after I got it my brother got one too. I like to think that we're the only two people on the planet that have a cotton logo tattooed on us."

Emily B: "It's a treble/bass clef put together to form a heart, with a staff of music stemming from it. There are also thirteen stars going along with the staff of music."

Jen: "It's a butterfly, which I hope is obvious, because I designed it myself!"

stella.jpgStella: "For at least 50 years, my grandfather would draw these on every kid who came through his house- grandchildren (all 26 of us,) great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, random little kids who came around, anybody really. When I decided at age 22 that I needed a tattoo, I could only think of one thing that I would want on my body for the rest of my life. Grandpa usually drew them on stomachs or arms, but I got mine on my lower back because it seemed classier and less painful. This was before the term 'tramp stamp' became popular. I even got Grandpa to draw the candy box on the piece of paper I took to the the tattoo place to get it just like he drew it. The tattoo has been a big hit with the family, though nobody else has gotten one."

Haily W: "The tattoo is a copy of a photography of my grandmother when she was 18... For the 8 last years she has suffered from a severe depression, so the tattoo helps me remember her from before her illness."

Joel: "This is a picture of the tattoo I had done of my dog Magic. She is an American Staffordshire."

Tom B: "Mr. Clemens is on my arm, because he's our country's greatest writer, and an inspiration to me. And also because he looks good with a stogie."

Nikki J: "I had been fluctuating between a lotus and a spider mum, so Paul [Smith at Gully Cat Tattoo in Austin, TX] created a hybrid of the two for me. It's actually a cover up. The rock is hiding a really old chinese symbol for the year of the snake."

Sarah P: "Here's my tattoo, that my mom still doesn't know about thanks to my trusty watch! It's pretty self-explanatory."

Felipe T: "I got this big heart with some other hearts and a anchor back in 2006. I was moving from my hometown and I needed to put some stable symbol in me. The anchor was chosen and I love this. I called it something like 'it was so easy to wear my heart on my sleeve'."

Jeff: "Hope you like my tribal Hammerhead Shark!"

Colin: "It's an abstract of a red lotus which stands for compassion and love. After I wronged one of my friends I decided to get this to be a constant reminder to be a better person and that my friends deserve the best of me."

Elizabeth: "When I read V for Vendetta it really struck a chord with me-- everything about the book spoke to me, and it is now one of my all time favorite books. A month or so before the movie came out, I decided to get the "V" anarchy-like symbol from the book permanently etched on my skin... Right before we got down to business, a reporter from our local public radio station, KWMU came in... He asked if e could interview me for the story as well, and I agreed. The story ended up getting picked up by NPR's Morning Edition."

Cora: "This is my pride and joy, my Harry-Potter tattoo. I drew it myself, and had it inked at Sparky's in Newark, Ohio. It isn't my only HP-tattoo, I also have the Hollows symbol behind my left ear!"

Jim: "In case it's not obvious "“ the design is a stylized infinity symbol that's made out of two interlocked "J"s - I'm Jim, and my girlfriend's Jamie. Awwww."

Lori C: "My husband also has the same one on his back. We both have an Irish heritage and had wanted to get tattoos with Irish knotwork. The claddagh - which is best known as an Irish symbol for friendship, love, and loyalty - was a tattoo we could both agree on and one that very much summarized our relationship."

Jon: (1) "An ambigram with the German word for "now", 'jetzt', on the middle of my chest. I got it before I left for Germany to get my MA." (2) "A hamsa with swirly lines."

Harry Trimble
Delightful Photo Series Celebrates Britain’s Municipal Trash Cans
Harry Trimble
Harry Trimble

Not all trash cans are alike. In the UK, few know this better than Harry Trimble, the brains behind #govbins, a photo project that aims to catalog all the trash can designs used by local governments across Britain.

Trimble, a 29-year-old designer based in South London, began the series in 2016, when he noticed the variation in trash can design across the cities he visited in the UK. While most bins are similar sizes and shapes, cities make trash cans their own with unique graphics and unusual colors. He started to photograph the cans he happened to see day-to-day, but the project soon morphed beyond that. Now, he tries to photograph at least one new bin a week.

A bright blue trash can reads ‘Knowsley Council: Recycle for Knowsley.’
Knowsley Village, England

“I got impatient,” Trimble says in an email to Mental Floss. “Now there’s increasingly more little detours and day trips” to track down new bin designs, he says, “which my friends, family and workmates patiently let me drag them on.” He has even pulled over on the road just to capture a new bin he spotted.

So far, he’s found cans that are blue, green, brown, black, gray, maroon, purple, and red. Some are only one color, while others feature lids of a different shade than the body of the can. Some look very modern, with minimalist logos and city website addresses, Trimble describes, “while others look all stately with coats of arms and crests of mythical creatures.”

A black trash can features an 'H' logo.
Hertsmere, England

A blue trash can reads ‘South Ribble Borough Council: Forward with South Ribble.’
South Ribble, England

A green trash can with a crest reads ‘Trafford Council: Food and Garden Waste Only.’
Trafford, Greater Manchester, England

Trimble began putting his images up online in 2017, and recently started an Instagram to show off his finds.

For now, he’s “more than managing” his one-can-a-week goal. See the whole series at

All images by Harry Trimble

5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.


Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.


Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.


If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.


While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.


Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.


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