Calendar girls. The phrase bring to mind pictures of scantily clad women draped over cars, tacked to the wall above a toolbox. For decades, businesses have been pairing models with products in a blatant attempt to sell you their product with the thinly veiled excuse of “giving you something nice to look at.” Enter the 2012 Ohio Tattooed Girls Calendar by local photographer Summer Lin. The Ohio Tattooed Girls Calendar is different. “I wanted it to be about the girls,” Lin said during our interview. Flipping through the pages makes that even more obvious. The calendar has taken Lin nearly a year to complete because of her process: She met with dozens of women during her search for the 13 that would finally grace the pages. “I’ve visited just about every Starbucks in the area,” she said, “meeting the girls and getting to know them.” Her journey not only produced enough photogenic females for the project, but also introduced her to people she might otherwise never have met. But it was a lot of work. At one point she had confirmed all of her models when she found out that one of the girls she wanted to work with had to back out of the project due to time constraints. The woman was getting swamped with work. “She had four kids and she was super-excited to be in it, but she ended up just not having time for it,” said Lin. By that point the project was in full swing, and finding new girls would be time-consuming. Fortunately, the information age provides us with a lot of new avenues if you’re creative enough — and Lin is. “At that moment I had so much going on with the shoots and everything that I couldn’t even try to select another person, so I was trying to figure out how to let that process happen,” she said. The answer came in the form of social media. She turned to Facebook, where she held a contest to find a replacement. “I decided to do the contest, and whoever would have the most likes and the most support from their friends would be in it,” she said. The turnout was more than she could hope for. “The last two girls, Alicia and Ashley — it was neck-and-neck the entire time and they were really pushing. Alicia actually contacted radio stations and had Moe mention it on the Moe Show on 92.5 FM. She had sent an email to him but she didn’t really think he would say anything.” Fortunately, he did say something, as well as spending a little talking about how hot tattoos are — a truism we can almost all agree on. The girls in the Ohio Tattooed Girls Calendar are certainly attractive, but Lin avoided grabbing a bunch of traditional models and throwing them on the page. Some of the girls in the calendar do have modeling experience — one was so good Lin festively reenacted her posing for me in a way that reminded me of fanboys reenacting their favorite Star Wars moves, replete with “swoosh” sound effects — but for the most part, they’re simply women who share a unifying love of art, especially body art. They are artists, mothers and businesswomen. Lin came up with the idea while photographing the Tattoo Classic at the McKinley Grand last October. “I was photographing one of the girls that had come up on stage,” she said, “and I thought, ‘Hey, she’s a really pretty girl, she should be in a calendar.’ Then, I thought, ‘Hey, I should make a calendar.’ That’s literally how quickly the thought process went.” It hasn’t been as easy to implement as it was to envision, however. “There’ve been at least two days during this process where I woke up just wondering ‘What was I thinking?’” she said. “It’s just been a really overwhelming experience with all the work that’s gone into it. But I’m really glad that I saw it through to the end. Well, to finish the calendar. I’m not really sure what the end is anymore.” The hard work Lin put into the calendar can be seen on each page. She photographed all of the girls, traveling to their favorite places, talking to them about their favorite things and capturing them on film in a way that she thought was beautiful. She’ll be releasing it to the world on January 14 at Empire Ink in Akron, alongside a DJ, live painting, video projections and, most importantly, the Ohio Tattooed Girls.