International Tattoo Festival: Extreme Body Modification (Viewer Discretion)

Tattooed eyeballs, forked tongues and tunnelled flesh were on display at the Caracas International Tattoo Festival as body modification aficionados gathered for the annual event.

Reuters photographer Jorge Silva photographed some of the participants and asked them what inspired their interest in the art form.


“My motivation is the freedom to do with my body whatever I want,” said Carlos, pictured above. “Not everyone can enjoy this freedom.”

Tattoo and body modification artist Kala Kaiwi is a Guinness World Record holder for the largest non-surgically made stretch earlobes, which measure 109mm (4.3 inches) in diameter.

“I pride myself on constantly learning new techniques and procedures in order to be on the forefront of the modifications culture,” said Kaiwi, who began his career 20 years ago when he moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas.


Body modification artist Henry Rodriguez, also known as “Red Skull,” said he had his first tattoo when he was 12.

“I have always loved body modifications. Now I have a project: I want to be included in the Guinness World Records as the most modified man on Earth,” he said.


Luciel sticks out her bifid tongue as she poses for a portrait and says her motivation is to “break the laws of beauty.”

“I like to express genuineness, originality,” she said. “Women love to modify their bodies with breast and buttocks implants but nobody questions them. It’s widely accepted.”


“Vampire Woman,” a Mexican body modification and tattoo artist, is motivated by the drive to be different.

“I don’t want to be just another number. I’m an individualist,” she said. “I want to express freedom, beauty and tranquillity.”