Many Hands Make Light Work
Photography by Elena Cremona
Interview by Barbara Naz
'Many Hands' was born out of a lack of connection & intimacy during Quarantine. I've been obsessed with photographing hands for years and during isolation I've really missed shooting and connecting with my subjects that way, so I've taken it upon myself to reach out to artists to see if they can lend their hands during a little FaceTime shoot. I've been particularly drawn in capturing dancers' hands because of the control of movement they have over their bodies.
I started out by screenshotting frames from my FaceTime conversations, and I got frustrated, (as I am trained in analogue photography and my whole practice is centered around being in the darkroom), so I decided to start shooting on my analogue camera through the screen - it's important to me to be involved in my work hands on, being able to develop it and make handprints from the negatives.
'How has the lack of meaningful human contact affected you throughout this time?'
The affection of friends, family & the collective embrace of a rave is what I've missed most. In the everyday passage of movement between people there is an aversion of the eyes as the bodies brush past one another, now however, there is no body contact but a clear understanding with the gaze. Post Covid-19 we'll be engaging with one another in a different way
- Luke Farley
I think the lack of meaningful contact has affected me during this time by forcing me to take a step back from everything and living more in the “now”. While this situation/ isolation proves to be difficult in so many ways, I think there’s also beauty in truly being alone with yourself and having this time to just think/ self reflect and evaluate the value of certain things in life! This period has definitely allowed for lots of personal growth as an individual which I think will only strengthen the meaningfulness of human contact for me in the future.
- Kele Roberson
A lack of human connection during this time has really made me realize how important it is to have people around and close by. We take it for granted - we cancel plans, distant ourselves, sometimes in good faith but in most instances its the direct opposite, we are social creatures and human connection(s) is what society thrives on. We should cherish it and make an effort to build meaningful connections with ourselves first, fellow humans alike and nature as we move forward.
- Kenny Sang
You mentioned that you have been obsessed with hands for years, which is also evident from your Instagram, how did this obsession begin?
I don’t really know where it came from. I think it’s because my Dad is Italian, and I grew up around a lot of Italian sculptures and art, a lot of renaissance art where hands are always depicted really gently. So, I think that’s where it came from. Hands are so unique to everyone, it’s like a face but without a face. At school I always drew hands even though I’m not really great at it. I think it’s just the tenderness around them. I have recently bought three books about hands, and one is about how hands reveal hidden thoughts.
The series ‘Many Hands Make Light Work’ was born out of a lack of meaningful human contact. I see in your work many different hands, in different shapes, movements but not only that, I also see many different skin colors coming from all over the world. Apart from them being your obsession, why have you chosen hands to make signify the lack of meaningful connection?
I think it’s that hands are our first extension when we reach out to someone else. The first thing you think about with human connection is touch, which is helped through hands. I think that’s why I went with hands. They are an extension of human connection. Human connection is such a vital part of life and if you are striped of it you are going to crave it even more.
The series ‘Many Hands Make Light Work’ was born out of a lack of meaningful human contact. I see in your work many different hands, in different shapes, movements but not only that, I also see many different skin colors coming from all over the world. Apart from them being your obsession, why have you chosen hands to make amplify this point?
Well it started with me being frustrated because I hadn’t been able to create as much as I used to when I it wasn’t lockdown. I felt like, if I can’t create then who am I, since I identify myself as a creator. So, it was like well if I can’t do that, I’m going to use the tools I have, which is a laptop and technology so I can call people. It started off on FaceTime with my best friend, I asked to see her hands and then made screenshots. However, the screenshots were not satisfying me as I’m trained in analog photography and I shoot everything analog. I work at a lab so I’ve got a dark room and I can make contact sheets from it and I can be with the negatives. So, then I thought why don’t I photograph through the screen and see what happens and it worked out really well.