Conception, Gestation, Delivery.
After a good long cycle ride this summer my wife and I stopped at a local café for an ice cream. It was crowded and so I asked a young woman if we could use the spare chairs at her table. We fell into conversation on numerous topics, one of which was her occupation. It turned out that she was a harpist – and you don’t meet many of those. As I talked to her about that it dawned on me that I might have a subject here for my Working Hands series.
Fast forward a few weeks and I arrived at her flat for the photo session. I had three cameras with me. One was my standard digital camera. One was a film SLR. And one was my Hasselblad MF. I am not usually incompetent physically but I pressed a stray button on the digital and found myself in a menu that I simply could not get out of. Then the back on the Hasselblad refused to go back on after I reloaded. So it was all down to the little Olympus. We had to go outside because there wasn’t enough light in the flat. Then the sky clouded over and a few drops of rain fell. It was all getting a bit fraught. What do you do in those circumstances? The only thing you can do is keep going, it seems to me.
The session kind of reaffirmed my faith in film. I realised that the digital screen, the constant looking at images as you take them is a double-edged sword. So many photos are like wine: they seem to develop as time passes. With film, that period between exposure and development is very significant. There is no rush to judgment as there so often is with digital. Your memory of what you saw through the viewfinder has time to mature and you can look with more equanimity at the results when you eventually get them.
There were several images of Rebecca that I could have used for the series but this is the one I eventually chose. Others in the series show the eye fixed on the hand – which was my intention. But in this one, as she is looking down, I think you get an idea more of the invisible mind/body connection.
The Working Hands series is being exhibited from November 10th to January 26th at The Treasure House, Champney Road, Beverley, East Yorkshire. Free entrance!