Thursday, 15 January 2009


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3. YVAN, le romantic.

4. Paul, with his favourite camera.


6. La Tendresse.

I am not writing a ‘rule’ here, just a personal observation and conclusion.
I must tell you that I am one of these people who also … ‘talk’ with their hands!
Maybe that influenced my feelings towards the matter. One of my fascinations in life.
In a portrait, for me, they are either in or out, no half measures!
Since they are so expressive, almost as much as a face (?), a means of body language and non-verbal communication, we ‘say’ so much with our hands.
We touch, feel, handle, build and destroy, hurt and caress, kill and heal, make music (noise) and command or pray for silence, our hands can be rough or smooth.
Only Man has hands. We use them as a tool, to make tools, and as a weapon, they serve as eyes for the visually impaired, we can 'talk' with them, they have become a symbol of salutation, supplication, and condemnation.
They are used as units of measure!
The hand has played a part in the creative life of every known society, and it has come to be symbolic or representative of the whole person in art, in drama, and in the dance.
Although prehension (the ability to grip) is the major function of the hand, however, at the same time, it is one of man's primary sense organs.
Hands have the perception of levels of heat and cold. In folk society, a normal hand placed upon the forehead is used to determine the presence of fever.
It was also discovered that vibratory impulses generated by finger percussion can be felt even when the auditory sense is eliminated.
Is that how Beethoven was able to write his great music?
Vibratory sensations, as perceived by the hand, are of importance in teaching the auditory impaired to speak. By placing one hand on the larynx of a speaker and the other hand on his own larynx, they learn the vibration patterns of speech sounds. When the patterns "heard" by his left and right hand are identical, the student has succeeded in imitating the sound.

In the creative arts, the hands speak, and one senses the tremendous power of the hand
to convey human emotions.
They are the organs of the body which, except for the face, have been used most often in the various art forms to express human feeling. The hands point or lead or command; the hands cry out in agony or they lie quietly sleeping; the hands have moods, character, and, in a wider sense, their own particular beauty. From prehistoric
times to our own day, in every society known to science, the hands symbolize cultural behaviours, values, and beliefs.
The hands are, as Kant is reported to have said, "Man’s outer brain."

That is why I find them so important in portrait photography; it can mean the difference between a ‘mug’ shot/boring face image and a portrait with emotion and substance!
THANX, M, (*_*)

I got this lovely family with 3 children in the studio.
The two youngest looked very much like the dad, but her eldest son was just the spitting image of her.
AAAhhh, the Art of genetics.

I placed their hands like that in this portrait because often I find they play such a vital role and say so much.

Taken on the Hasselblad, which has square negs, so it is slightly cropped.
Scanned from the print.
The 80mm lens and the film Ilford Delta 100.

This gent took a moment's rest from selling his hats... along the Thames, to have an animated chat with one of the street cleaners.

3. YVAN, le romantic.

This is my long time friend, Ivan and his lovely partner. During a long studio shoot, I finally was able to convince her to join him in front of the camera, that pleased him, he grabbed her hand, held it over his heart and said something a bit naughty...?

4. PAUL, with his favourite camera.
Paul, my dear husband and soul mate.
A man of principle, loved by his friends, family and me. A man you can count on.

The toddler was demanding daddy's attention, I love the contrast, the tiny hand, the strong hands, the interlaced fingers. The 'link'...
To understand this image you really have to view the previous.

Talk about emotion in a photo, do you agree?
The strength of a father's arm and hands carries that lovely burden with such ease, the baby feels totally relaxed, her head cupped in this big warm hand with great tenderness.

A lifelong commitment, that's being a parent, to care about smaller and bigger things, the being there, we have a duty, the morals that we teach them... that's what will (ideally) shape them, let's not underestimate the impact we have on our nearest and dearest.
The 'father' figure is one of strength and discipline, never forget that bit of tenderness, so needed in all our lives.

An unforgettable moment in my youngest son's life, shortly after his little girl was born, she is the apple of his eye... not every child is that lucky...

For more on hands click here.


maleentjeh said...

Great stuff. I keep hearing your advise when photographing people these days ! I try to get all fingers (or toes) in my pics...



wings4me1 said...

you are so right about hands, I am working on just hands for a series. I like older hands, hands that have toiled, and soothed. Thank you for a great post

Mia de Fleur said...

Of cause hands are very important as part of body language, as tools we use to do what we do, to accomplish character of person we present.