Journalism // Photo Story | Exposed Temptations Tattoo | Manassas, VA Megan Kirkland (right) and her husband Shaun wait for Megan’s tattoo appointment at Exposed Temptations Tattoo in Manassas, VA. Kirkland said it took them two hours to drive to the tattoo parlor but that the drive is worth it for the service they receive. When the Kirklands lived in Maryland it took them three hours to get to Exposed Temptations. “This place has the best reps. in the mid-Atlantic region… it’s a very reputable shop”, Kirkland said.Megan Kirkland looks through a book of one tattoo artist’s work with her husband Shaun while waiting for her appointment at Exposed Temptations Tattoo. This is Megan’s third time getting a tattoo at Exposed Temtations and seventh tattoo. She has an appointment with Carrie Ayers for the first time and booked her because she liked her online portfolio and that she specializes in solid black.Carrie Ayers, a tattoo artist at Exposed Temptations, puts a stencil of the tattoo design Megan Kirkland wants onto her back. Ayers will use the stencil to tattoo Kirkland’s back. Ayers is a self-taught artist who has been tattooing for nine years. She was an artist all her life, just as her mother had been, and was accepted to Pratt, which she turned down because the art was too commercial. When her mother became sick with cancer she made Ayers promise to use her artistic abilities. Ayers chose to use them tattooing because it gave her the most freedom with her art and because she thinks “skin is a fun canvas”.Carrie Ayers puts together the tattoo machine to begin the tattooing process. The tattoo machine holds ink in a small reservoir and punctures the first three layers of skin to insert the ink. Because of this Ayers refers to the tattoo as a “glorified scar”.Carrie Ayers begins outlining the tattoo for Megan Kirkland. Kirkland wants Celtic knots up her spine with a Celtic clover woven into the knots on the top of her neck. Here Ayers rubs A+D Ointment on Kirkland’s back while refilling the tattoo machine with more ink. Ayers explains that The A+D Ointment creates a barrier between the stencil and the ink so that as she wipes off excess ink the stencil will not be removed. It also helps the needle to glide into the skin easier.Carrie Ayers dips the tattoo machine into a small container of ink to refill the machine.Carrie Ayers works her was up Megan Kirkland’s spine while outlining her Celtic knots tattoo. Ayers specializes in “black and gray…big and flowy” tattoos, which is one reason Kirkland asked for Ayers to be her artist. Ayers will be filling in the knots with solid black ink after she outlines.Carrie Ayers finishes outlining the top of Megan Kirkland’s tattoo with a Celtic knot that winds into a Celtic clover on her neck.Megan Kirkland holds onto the chair while Carrie Ayers finishes outlining her Celtic knot tattoo. Kirkland had to switch positions on the chair multiple times to accommodate for the different areas of her back being tattooed. Kirkland has never had anything tattooed on her neck before and said that was the hardest part. “That clover…I may have wound up grinding the enamel off my teeth…I could feel my skull vibrating while [Ayers] did that,” she said.Carrie Ayers makes her way back down the spine while filling in the Celtic knots with black ink. Kirkland did not start to bleed until the filling of the tattoo was being done. She has only solid black tattoos on her body and says it is a personal preference. Most of Kirkland’s tattoos are on her back or in places she can cover them. She wants to keep them in more conservative places because she has a professional job.Megan Kirkland’s tattoo was supposed to take four hours, but she was in the parlor for about six, and the chair for about five with the tattoo still not completely filled in, so she decided to make another appointment to finish it. Kirkland decided to get Celtic knots down her back because she has Scottish heritage and because this knot represents healing and she has gone through multiple surgeries in the past year. She also has spinal problems and thought it symbolic to put the healing over her spine. She decided to integrate the clover at the top for luck. The clover also represents elements of love.