Thursday, April 3, 2014

Las Manos: Portraits through the hands

One of the subjects most discussed in photography, especially in contemporary photography, is that of “Identity.” After reading several articles that blew me away (because of their depth and detail), I realized I had found the second path that I've been looking for within the past year that would lead me to the next chapter of my work- context.

Well, I wanted to sound dramatic there; hopefully it worked! But, honestly, I did encounter what I felt I was missing. My work, no matter how good it was (relative to the past few years), lacked definition, context (that word again).

What does context mean?   in my case...

It refers to the relationship between the viewer and my images. For the past few years, I've been working exclusively and intentionally on building a strong, capable, photographic skill base. My focus was solely on composing (correctly), lighting (correctly), and vision (being able to discriminate between good and bad shots before even lifting the camera to my face). And these basics (composition, lighting, vision) will always be works in progress, no matter how skilled I get. But now I'm slowly expanding my work by bringing meaning and audience into the frame. (I'm such a punster).

Because of my new academic involvements I've started thinking, "Why not give my work a deeper, more intentional meaning?" So this is the first blog [actually, the second, lol. The previous post was the first] about such attempts. Except I will supply one element that has been referred to in the past couple paragraphs:


This collection was originally focused on just getting nifty-looking pictures (remember, I was only focused on building a base)...But, with new intentions, I'm adding some meaning to this collection. This post covers Identity, through people’s hands. The title, "Las Manos" (Spanish for “The Hands”) refers to a collection I started in Cuba on my last visit. I wanted to express the value our hands hold in our lives. Hands produce action from our thoughts; and from action they produce character, Identity.

Las Manos

Born and raised in Cuba. 

These next images of "Las Manos" are accompanied by a portrait of the contributor. (cover image too)





We do so much with these extremities that we sometimes don't actually realize how often we use them. Every day we use them to get out of bed, each finger wraps around the handle of a brush to brush our teeth, to straighten our hair. We prepare our meals with our hands, or simply use them to accept the meals prepared by the hands of others. We use them to determine how we feel: forehead hot; sweat down the neck; cold. And we also use them to express our feelings: hands over our eyes – fear; hands against the cheek of someone else – Love.....or anger. 

So don’t simply do, but feel and observe your actions, because after the actions are done they belong to your past and ultimately our past actions build our future as well. 


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