INKED: Clever, Odd and Outrageous Tattoos
teNeues / 160 pages / $20

Tattoos have become so commonplace that they no longer hold the panache or shock-value as in the days when they were only found on sailors or ex-cons. Nowadays, a simple “MOM” scrolled across one’s bicep isn’t going to get a second look. And while the reasons people tattoo themselves vary (from a way to memorialize someone, to an attempt to achieve an image, to wearable art, to a form of self-expression), those looking to get attention or make a statement have to try harder than ever. Inked is an irreverent look at unusual tattoos for those who want to be shocked, amused, disturbed and fascinated by body art subcultures. While the impact of these tattoos must be seen in order to be fully appreciated, imagine a pair of breasts coming up from a thought bubble tattooed on the side of a man’s head, a unicorn doing unmentionable things to a dolphin against a rainbow backdrop, and a side of bacon etched across someone’s love-handles. If you are contemplating a wacky tattoo of your own, you’d be well advised to look through this book—twice. Nothing is quite as interesting, weird or funny the second, third, fourth…thousandth time around.

The Stephen Sprouse Book
By Roger Padilha & Mauricio Padilha
Rizzoli NY / 256 pages / $65

Stephen Sprouse might not have enjoyed widespread commercial success in his lifetime (beyond the bags he designed for Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton), but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t largely influential. Considered one of the artistic “offspring” of Andy Warhol, Sprouse was one of the pioneers of a rich and experimental arts community throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Known for his Day-Glo colors and graffiti-prints (and for dressing Debbie Harry), Sprouse’s designs introduced a merger between street culture and high fashion. Even though his sometimes shocking and inventive collections were lauded by the fashion community, and even garnered high-end buyers (his clothing was sold in small volumes at Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman), Sprouse was forced to file for bankruptcy early on in his career—something he never fully recovered from. Despite his financial woes, Sprouse didn’t stop creating. The Stephen Sprouse Book, a monograph compiled by his friends, brothers Roger and Mauricio Padilha who own the largest private collection of Sprouse’s work, is a testament to his successes with a nod to the trials he overcame. The volume is as colorful and dynamic as Sprouse’s life—flush with Polaroids, sketches, behind-the-show snapshots and countless stories about his bold life.

Mary Ellen Mark: Seen Behind The Scene
By Mary Ellen Mark
Phaidon / 128 pages / $60

That Americans are obsessed with movie stars is an establish fact (and an unfortunate byproduct of extreme inundation by mass-media influences). From tabloid shots, to blog ditherings, to product campaigns, they are everywhere. And still, we cannot get enough of them. Most of the time, they appear at their best (spreads in Vanity Fair, interviews on The Daily Show, glossy airbrushed campaigns for that underwear or this perfume). And when they are at their worst (in some caught-on-tape scandal or rehab debacle), we cannot look away. But in legendary documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark’s, Seen Behind Scene, we are given an entirely new glimpse of these silver screeners: in their natural habitat, on set. Mark’s experienced and compassionate lens exhibits the unpolished humanity of actors, directors and extras alike. The images span forty years of Mark’s on-set photography: from Catherine Deneuve in the French alps, to a very young Melanie Griffiths at play on the beach, to Dustin Hoffman in drag on Tootsie’s set, to Marlon Brando in his bloodstained Apocalypse Now garb. Mark’s well-honed knack for catching cinema-worthy moments and emotions puts these screen-greats just where we like them—on display. ­—Kiira Mancasola