These Hands – An Introduction

These Hands is an idea that’s been in my head for a while. It stems back to years ago when I was doing some documentary photography work for the Sligo Arts and I was in a care home.

There was a lady there that didn’t really want to join in with anything, but then one day some musicians came in and her whole demeanor changed. She put her hand on her heart and her hand up to the air as if she was feeling the music and she had her eyes closed, the image stays with me, even though I didn’t take a photo of it, I can just see it very, very clearly.

And it got me thinking about what our hands say about. Without even looking at the facial expression. So I’m doing a series of photos, about different hands. And I’d love people to tell me a bit about their hands, what it says about them, what they do. It can be as long or as short as they like. and I’ve got a good few done already.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far, and that maybe don’t think it’s as weird a project, as some other people do. There’s a whole range of ideas about this. Originally, I would’ve liked to have teamed up with a community centre and document the hands of the people that come to the centre, so that I would’ve had all different age groups, but that hasn’t worked out.

I’m kind of letting the project lead itself and I’m not gonna push I’m just going see where it goes. I’ve had people contacting me on Twitter saying that they would love to take part. So I think there’s a Hands of Ireland in this and that people can submit photos of other people and give a line or two about the person and what they’ve done in their lives or anything really.

They don’t have to say an awful lot. Obviously I’d love it if they did because I just think it would make the project much more interesting, but it’s kind of like if you think of Humans of Dublin, but not with faces because so many people are uncomfortable when it comes to taking photos of their faces and maybe they’d put on a fake smile or just not be themselves.

So with the hands, there’s no pressure about that and it takes a second just to take photo. Another idea came from this, I was chatting to an artist because I often find where projects like this artists are much more approachable. They’re used to having ideas that maybe are not conventional or thinking about outside the box. This lovely artist suggested that because at the moment I’ve got quite a few hands belonging to creative people. That wouldn’t it be great if there was an exhibition and perhaps in one room or one section, there would be the creative hands of Sligo, or of whatever area I happen to be in.

And that the, the photo of the hands would be there, but next to it will be a piece of work that the artist has created. I think that this would be a really good idea. It would put a spotlight back on the artist and just make people think a bit more about hands.

I suppose home slightly obsessed! I think that our hands are a hugely underrated part of ourselves. I know with mine they’re creative, they can be all kinds of things, I’ve written more about my own hands, which I was sharing another blog.

Last week I met somebody whose hands I took a photo of five years ago, actually, it was even before this project was even a seed of an idea. She loved the image and I love the image. So we’ve incorporated into something else and I’m just waiting for her words to go along with it. So it is really interesting. I find it interesting anyway, and I hope that some of you do.

Thanks again to everyone that’s taken part so far and especially Achonry Farmers Market who have come on board and I’ve got photos of some of their hands.

I really appreciate that, they’ve been great. Even though, as I say, a lot of people think I’m weird, but sure. , I’ve been called worse. So I don’t really mind. So watch this space. I’ll be sharing some images and the hashtag – #thesehands and #handsofireland.

And because I wake up at four in the morning with thoughts about different projects, I think there’s gonna be a Paws of Ireland so that we can incorporate our lovely pets and say a bit about them, especially from a rescue point of view, and maybe to encourage people to adopt and not shop. There’s so many animals out there that need good homes and they haven’t had the best start in life, but they could have a wonderful life and they make amazing pets.

So anyway, watch this space. There’s more to come. As always, I’m never one to sit still for very long and thanks again to everyone that’s taken part. I look forward to sharing the images with you.

Update – 20th September 2022 – I’ve had people contacting me and sharing images of hands, and I’d welcome them. To get involved please email

Featured post

These Hands – The Teacher

This post is a special one. I went to Roscommon to meet this person, and they wrote a wonderful piece to go along with their photo. They used a pen belonging to their father, and while I could type the text I think it’s much nicer for you to read the written piece.

These Hands – The Designer and Creator

These hands create – They draw and paint and cut and fold and make what is in my head come to life.
These fingers strum and play and make my instrument sing. It brings me joy to know that what these hands create makes other people smile.

These Hands – The Pharmacist

These hands belong to a pharmacist who cares deeply about the people she meets on a daily basis. They are battered and dry from using hand sanitizer but are always ready to go the extra mile for those who need help. They have prepared doses of Covid vaccines, counted tablets, applied dressings and checked prescriptions. They work hard and love what they do.

Thank you to the person who submitted this.

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