My left hand

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.

Shadow of hand holding open book
Shadow of hand holding down a page

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”.

Hand miming
Hand miming

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!

Hand touching a plant
Hand touching a plant

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.

Hand holding on bearded chin
Hand holding on bearded chin

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!

Hand weighing down book while holding single page
Hand weighing down book while holding single page

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.


End words

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.


Bibliographic note

Erwitt, E. Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook, Quantuck Lane Press, N.Y. 2003


Credit all images to Maurice Amiel

What are you looking for?