Selection from a photographic exploration of my left hand in various contexts
When in search of photographic subject, we seem to forget our own body, in this case, the amazing abilities of our hand and fingers such as clutching a door style in the feature image, or the delicate touching when called to hold a page down as shown below.
By sheer coincidence the first line of the text in the above photo states that: “Pictures of who we are help us visualize …” probably … “our self-image”.
The imaginative combination of fingers positions has inspired many shadow-puppet artists whose hands are astonishingly flexible.
When extended, the lower three fingers will make for the profile of a goose; something my father showed me when I was a young boy!
At the tip of our fingers lie all the various ways of touching things and living beings, such as a plant that seems to reach in turn for my spread fingers.
“Touching” we will say of certain actions or things in reference to the tactile sensitivity of our finger tips which can detect texture changes down to 10 nanometers.
The touching or our own chin, bearded or not, expresses usually our pondering a question, as if steadying our head to keep our mind concentrated and safe from distraction.
In other conditions of facial-hair the hand may also pull down on a longer beard, or play with it in a thoughtful manner!
The delicate bending-holding-pinching of the edge of a book page, with an image showing another’s body part discretely exposed, is an example of the multitasking ability of the hand: weighing down on the book while holding a single page at the same time.
Unfortunately, authorship of the image in the book and of the book are now lost.
If it be true that “Art is an affirmation of life”, we may suggest, in all modesty, that the hand as prized instrument for creating art can merit to be the subject of artful confirmation.
Erwitt, E. Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook, Quantuck Lane Press, N.Y. 2003
Credit all images to Maurice Amiel