You need hands.

In portrait photography one of the things that needs a bit of thought is how to deal with the subject’s hands.  If you aren’t careful they can look a bit odd and unnatural.  Some people suggest hiding them behind the subject, or asking them to put their hands in their pockets.  I reckon that you can get interesting images by concentrating on just the hands, and ignoring the rest of the person!

This potter at an art exhibition was concentrating very hard on getting the top of the pot perfect, so wasn’t at all bothered about me.  Their hands are a lovely shape, showing control and precision, with each hand supporting the other.

These are the hands of a naval trainee standing at ease.  They were at an event to honour veterans of the WW2 D-Day Normandy campaign.  There’s a very relaxed look to the hands, yet they show discipline.  I’ve dropped the black level down so that the hands are shown against a plain dark background.

A hand in (almost) a classic “karate chop” position.  Karate translates as “empty hand” so it’s a visual pun.  The hand, whilst saying it is empty, is not empty, so it’s a visual paradox as well.  It’s a bit like “This page intentionally left blank”.  Oh the fun you can have with fridge magnets!

Hands a problem in portrait photography?  Not if you get rid of the body…

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