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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our hands describe who we are

i have a thing about hands.  one day, i'd like to do a series of portraits of hands.... fresh, pudgy baby hands, gnarled and twisted century-old hands... and every variation between.  

so, i have this friend who's a photographer, and i asked him to take some pictures of me.  the thought was, i'll need something professional looking for a portfolio to leave here'n there, in hopes of getting some paying gigs in the city, now that i live here.  pleasant work, and on my list of things to accomplish - making a portion of my living through playing music as well as teaching it.  after all, i'm getting a bit old to be hauling refrigerators and couches around for a living.  much as i love the ReStore Manager job, i know it's either got to morph into something less physical or be replaced by something less physical fairly soon.  

and i have these 4 grown kids, raised by a mum who, when outside help was not forthcoming, said, "well, dammit, then i'll do it myself!"  so they take me pretty much for granted. it never occurs to them that i might ever need help with anything.  and that's o.k. mostly, because i'm pretty independent and i like it that way.... or at least i've become accustomed to it, so it feels normal.   

i take most of the family pictures ..... which means i'm seldom in them.   not a big deal for me; i'd rather look at pictures of them than pictures of me anyway.   but it occurred to me at about the time that i thought i'd better get a portfolio together, that there will come a day when i'm not around, and my kids won't have any decent pictures of me.   and they might be sorry about that.   we've decided to keep Christmas as down-to-earth and hype-free as we can this year, so i thought a nice gift might be a photo of their mum in a nice frame.  

and it's occurred to me that, much as we focus our attention on faces, it's hands that say so much about us, and to us.  it's the hands of a parent that comfort and nurture. that provide food and shelter, that write down the stories, draw the pictures and, in my case, make the music.  i'm tempted to give them a picture of my hands.   

not that i will, because i just don't think they'd get it.   but i'm tempted.


jozien said...

Interesting! I would love a picture of someones hands. I never thought of it and suddenly it seems very appealing. The photo of your hands beautiful.

Cicero Sings said...

I have a friend who tells me she always judges a person by their hands! And you're right hands do say a lot about a person. I took pictures of my Mom's hands this last year.

We've been working on a memorial for D's Dad as well as family history and pictures ARE great to have ... so many pictures we would like but that have been lost or never taken!

lindsaylobe said...

Nice post and idea for Christmas – I trust your able to enjoy some gigs also.

Love is in the touch of the hand that heals- inscribe that below a picture of your hands and they will get it !!

I could imagine you playing this one which has those words as per below -Estelle White - Trust is in the eyes of a tiny babe.

Trust is in the eyes of a tiny babe
Leaning on his mother’s breast.
In the eager beat of a young bird’s wings
on the day it leaves the nest.

Hope is in the rain that makes crystal streams
Tumble down a mountain side,
and in every man who repairs his nets,
Waiting for the rising tide.

Love is in the hearts of all those who seek
freedom for the human race.
Love is in the touch of the hand that heals,
and the smile that lights a face.

Strength is in the wind as it bends the trees,
Warmth is in the bright red flame,
Light is in the sun and the candle-glow,
Cleansing are the ocean’s waves.

Seraphine said...

if you can't take pictures of the heart, then pictures of the hands will work. they have a story to tell, as surely as faces or feet or mouths or words.
i sometimes watch how people use their hands. some will cup one hand in another when they listen intently. sometimes hands are never still, they twitch, tap, scratch, pull a strand of hair from the face.
my mother told me to always look at a man's shoes.
i like to look at people's eyes. although, eyes lie just as easily as shoes can lie.
but it's hard for hands to lie. hands almost always tell the truth about a person.
you have beautiful hands. i bet when you are playing, they are expert and sure and not at all hesitant. it fits how i envision you to be.

susan said...

Sorry it took me a few extra days to get here but I had some computer problems that have been resolved now.

I think your idea of hand photos is a very good one. One of my favourite pictures of Georgia O'Keefe is one taken of her hands when she was very old. It was very beautiful.

When I look at my own hands I see my mother. The rest of me resembles my dad (except thankfully I'm not bald) but the hands are very like hers.. on the large side for a small woman with squared off finger tips and very strong.

Your hands are beautiful and I can see too that they are very sure and capable with a lovely instrument cradled inside them.

gfid said...

jozien - my friend took all the pix with a soft focus lens, which makes close ups lose detail, and go grainy..... but they'll do. thanks :0)

cicero - i have years missing from my pix of the kids. makes me sad. divorce from husband #2 was ugly and they all disappeared. i have it on good authority that he has them, but he says he doesn't. i haven't kept any pictures of him.

lindsay - i haven't had any luck finding a recording or sheet music of this song. the lyrics are lovely. i'd like to learn it.

sera - thanks for the kind words. sometimes when i play my hands feel like they are separate animals. i don't tell them what to do, they make the music from something deeper than me that they're connected to and i'm not.

su - the physical connection to our family members connects us in ways that i didn't understand till i started seeing myself in my children. having been adopted, i bear no resemblance to anyone in the family i grew up in.... the hands on the instrument often understand it better than the brain supposedly directing them, i find.

susan said...

I've read in a number of studies that we do things long before we think to do them. In baseball it's called being in the zone.

gfid said...

su- yep, i'm definitely 'in the zone' when i'm fiddling.... some call it 'zoned out'.