21 stunning tattoos and their equally beautiful backstories

Every picture tells a story, but every tattoo tells a few.

People get tattoos to honor people or things they love. Their body art honors things both deeply meaningful and utterly meaningless. The experience of getting one can be shared with loved ones or flown solo.

But one truth exists across the board: Whatever leads a person to put a permanent marking on their body, chances are that person has at least something to say about it.

Part of the beauty of tattoos is that they allow us to express something about ourselves without words. Still, we constantly find ourselves wanting to know more about the why, when, where and what behind the ink we see on other people.

Lucky for us (and you!) a group of HuffPosters, plus a few friends, opened up about their prized body art. Some stripped down; some had trouble picking just one; all had their own anecdotes to share.

Check out 21 beautiful tattoos ― and their funny and sometimes downright inspiring stories behind them ― below:

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.