With his new project Hands: The Story of Life, Lebanese photographer Omar Reda documents global cultures and traditions with a unique point of view. By focusing just on the hands of his subjects, rather than their portraits, he asks us to reflect on what hands reveal about each person.
Reda, who traveled to different countries and environments for the series, places each palm at the forefront. Every line, crack, and crevice is pushed toward the viewer. It’s stunning to see how every photo of hands deviates from one another. Whether it’s a potter’s palm caked in clay or the calloused hands of a carpenter, we are given a window into each participant’s world.
“The hand like the eyes reveal what’s hidden below the surface. It is essential for our evolution and survival,” writes Reda. “Early humans used it to ignite a fire, hunt, fight and other survival actions. The hand is the main part that helps us to excel our skills across all the industries since the beginning of time.”
Reda’s work pays homage to those who practice manual skills. For them, their hands truly are a storybook that unfolds over time. The photos of hands, particularly those close-up, demonstrate the struggle and burden placed upon them. We, as viewers, are left to fill in the story behind each one.