Started in 2012, the ongoing photo collection displays rescue dogs posing with their tattooed owners to showcase the shared prejudices they face in society. Some of the featured rescue dog owners have tattoos for their pets, including one that reads “Save Them.” Batista’s overall message is clear: Stop judging.
“I hope the results of the images are positive for showing that not all rescued animals are damaged and not all tattooed people are degenerates,” the Tennessee-based photographer says.
“This project is my way of saying to rescue workers, advocates and the animals especially that you have a voice.”
Despite a 2012 Harris poll that revealed 21 percent of adults have a tattoo, showing ink is still considered taboo in several workplaces — including many hospitals around the U.S., according to NPR.
“There are so many places that spread negative or untrue statements about rescues — especially certain breeds — that it’s nice to be part of the positive message,” says Batista, who also owns two rescue dogs — a boxer named Chewie and an English bulldog named Abigail.
“I’m beyond honored to meet and photograph the people and animals I have in the last two years and I don’t see T&R slowing down anytime soon,” he adds.
See some heartwarming photos from the series below, and make sure to SHARE this story with all the tattoo and animal lovers you know!