For the Love of Tattoos

I have this thing for tattoos; especially black, simple pieces. I love colorful compositions as well, but have have always been drawn to black etched lines for myself. It is a rather thrilling act to get ink on skin – the adrenalin rush involved and then the after – the forever and finality of a piece, my favorite part. And then, it is true, there is this something about one tattoo that keeps you wanting more – an adage that I had always heard prior, but did not understand until I lived it. 
Beyond the act of getting a tattoo, I love the symbolic language in which tattoos speak; one tiny mark could whisper a million words – meanings that are mostly beyond anyone’s understanding but the bearer of the tattoo himself. Yes, a curious cat may inquire as to the symbolism of a person’s tattoo, and the then the bearer shall try to explain his badge as well as possible, but there is still something so private and significant about a piece of artwork that is forever etched on to the skin. 
A tattoo could symbolize a journey – the end of one or the beginning; a time in one’s life; a step forward, even back; a longing for someone lost and gone; a remembrance of a time, a relationship – so many things; why it was done when it was done, who a person was with, what stage in a person’s life he was enduring. A tattoo is different than a hormonally charged haircut during pregnancy, or a bit of a weight gain during a hardship in one’s life because of its absolute permanence. I know this because I have experienced both the pregnancy haircut and the weight gain during a rough time. I can change my weight, my hair, but the ink stays as a true mark of time. 
The placement of a tattoo is also something special to consider: placement is not only key, but meaningful; as is the visibility of a piece – will it be seen, when will it be seen, if at all? Shall it later be tied to another piece?  
There is joy thought and consideration in the art of tattoos, but my favorite thing is the journey leading to a particular choice. Symbolism is one of my great loves. 

Oh, and yes, I will recognize that there is the occasional tattoo that a tattoo-parlor patron may receive on a late-night escapade, but even then, there is a story leading up to the event, and perhaps a rather exciting one at that, if even a little blurry.
Some favorite little pieces that I have found about the Internet that I would love to inquire as to the origins, the stories. Enjoy:

Sources: 1. Sylvie L.S. on Flickr; 2. We Heart It; 3.We Heart It; 4. Need Supply Model; 5. Mary Clair Roman; 6. Razor Blade Salvation; 7. B. Dunlap.