The crowd at Good Mojo Tattoo in the Boston suburb of Beverly,
Massachusetts, also wanting to commemorate the attack that left the
city shaken, inspired him to pick up his camera.
"It was young couples and dudes and people who had no tattoos at all
and I thought it was interesting to document who these people were,"
said Padgett, 39. "You see people with tattoos all the time, but you
never go, 'Oh, what's that mean?' You don't talk to them."
The fruit of Padgett's labor — a series of photographs titled "Bled
for Boston" — will go on exhibit at the Boston Center for Adult
Education on April 3 and run through the end of the month, keeping
alive the memory of that fateful day.
On April 15, 2013, two homemade pressure-cooker bombs placed at the
crowded finish line of the prestigious race killed three people and
injured 264, in the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since
Three days later, the two ethnic Chechen brothers accused of the
bombing killed a university police officer in an unsuccessful
getaway attempt that led to a day-long manhunt and lockdown of most
of the Greater Boston area.
For his exhibit, Padgett photographed about 75 people, including
nurses, police officers and spectators standing near the finish line
when the bombs went off.
One of his subjects, Dan Marshall, 33, was waiting for a friend to
finish the race when the blasts went off. He said he was one of the
first to reach the youngest casualty of the attack, 8-year-old
Martin Richard, and stayed with him until medical personnel arrived.
Marshall, of Danvers, Massachusetts, said he had considered getting
a tattoo for some time before the blasts, but the event was what
provided the impetus.
"I was looking for something with meaning and this hit home for me,"
Two weeks after the blasts, Marshall had an outline of the Boston
skyline tattooed on his back, along with the date of the attack and
an image of a pair of sneakers. Since then, he has added an American
flag in the background and says there is more to come.
"It's going to keep evolving. Everything in it has a meaning for
me," he said, adding that he finds the process therapeutic. "You
leave there feeling relieved. It's tough to explain."
[to top of second column]
The photo exhibit will also include the tattoo of Richard Donohue, a
transit police officer wounded in the gunfight between police and
the Tsarnaev brothers in Watertown, Massachusetts. The elder
brother, Tamerlan, died in the confrontation after Dzhokhar ran him
over with a car while escaping.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, was arrested the following evening and is
awaiting trial on charges that carry the threat of execution.
Donohue has asked that the description of his tattoo not be revealed
until the exhibit's opening, Padgett said.
Other images range from the sedate, a small yellow-and-blue ribbon
with the words "Boston Strong," to the effusive, a chiropractor's
choice of an elaborate scene in which a dragon and a phoenix adopt a
protective stance around a damaged unicorn, in a reference to the
logo of the marathon, which will be run for the 118th time on April
Tattoo artist Mulysa "Mayhem" Lesser, who did Padgett's tattoo as
part of a campaign to raise money for race victims, said she was
surprised by the number of people who wanted commemorative tattoos.
There have been so many that she has lost count, she said.
"It was such a shocking and important thing that I think people
wanted to always remember it," Lesser said. "People were so
emotionally moved and traumatized by this. I think it helped with
(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Gunna Dickson)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.