Humans have been marking their skin permanently for thousands of years. A tattoo can be a remembrance, a constant prayer, a warning, or simply an amazing work of art. The reasons behind them can be intensely personal, decorative, whimsical, or utilitarian. They can signify tribal allegiance, personal history, or nothing at all. Collected below are recent images of skin art and a few glimpses into the owners of these tattoos and their reasons for modifying their own bodies.
Above: a tattooed Buddhist monk waits for a train in Yala province in southern Thailand, on February 28, 2011. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)