If These Old Hands Could Speak (10 photos)

If these old hands could speak, just what would they say? What incredible stories would they tell? In a series where we’re left with more questions than answers, Alex (or Algo on Flickr) shows us just how powerful faceless photos can be. For years he took pictures of aging hands, sometimes providing a simple story to accompany the piece. For the one above, he shares, “She spends a lot of time searching for her stick, so when she has it, she holds tight. She was also holding onto life.” Flipping through his photos, you’ll find that many of the centenarians who’s hands these belonged to have now, sadly, passed away. I got in touch with Alex to ask him more about this series. Read that short interview, below.

Q: What inspired you to start this series? A: I used to read to these elderly women, and was allowed to take photos of them, on condition that they would not be facially recognized. They would love to tell me stories of their lives, which were wonderfully illustrated by hand gestures which seemed so photogenic to me. Q. What kind of life experiences did you take away after shooting these people? A: It was an immensely rich experience listening to these older people, and photographing them felt so rewarding, as long as I could get them near a window for the light. I didn’t feel that flash caught the nuances. Q: Why did you choose to focus on just the hands and not on the whole person? A: I did take some photos of faces etc, but don’t have consent for recognizable photos, so I was happy to concentrate on the hands. Q: What is your favorite picture and why? A: Of course I like the “Holding On” photo (first photo in this post) with the stick, because it has had such a wonderful response, and I like the almost 3D quality. I was not at all sure whether people would like the hand photographs, or might be repelled by them. So the response has been most gratifying. I’m also very fond of the first one I took, almost by mistake, or by chance. I also rather like this threesome. Q: Any advice for others in starting a photo series? A: Visit elderly people and listen to their life stories and get their permission and take millions …… These hands… held the joys of a lifetime, the sadness of times lost, worked tirelessly to care for a family, and were wrung on nights when the sands of time seemed to be slipping away. – Annette Zeidman Make sure to check out Alex’s full Flickr stream to enjoy his beautiful landscape shots, as well. Alex (or Algo)



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