52 Photos ~ In my hands

Black and white

I don’t look at faces. I make eye contact with hands. I see their shape, their texture, their color, their size. Their wrinkles, freckles, knuckles, nails.

I’m wary of hands, but attracted to hands.

My own hands never measure up to the hands I wish I had. When I was a little girl, I tried to make my thumbs longer and more elegant by pulling on each with the other hand. This did not work.

There’s not a single long, lithe bone in my body.

I stared at my parents’ hands. They had nothing to do with mine. They did things that mine couldn’t do, and were unrelated to mine in size and shape.

My father’s hands. He spreads his square-tipped fingers as he walks, as if combing the air like water, as if preparing to grab the world by its collar.

My mother’s hands. Tapered, short fingers. As short as the cigar butts her father left in the ashtray next to his habitual end of the chesterfield. The fingers are a mark of the family.

When she was born, our daughter’s fingers seemed freakishly long. I mean, in proportion to a baby’s hand. She’s grown into them.

The other day, I held up my own hand as if to take a picture, thinking I might take a picture, deciding not to take a picture.

I saw my parents’ hands in my hands.


This photo and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.


  1. Maryjane Simpson says:

    OMG, I, too look at hands! I met my husband to be, and yes, was first attracted to him by his good looks, but, more improtantly to me, was…………to sneak a peek at his hands. I wanted work man hands. I wanted strong hands that were calloused, non-pretty. I wanted those hands, and the man that went with them that did not care if all the world saw those hands, and that he was proud of all the work that he had done with them. I wanted to see those hands on things that I loved, to see how he handled them (and maybe life). I love my mother’s hands that are older now than I can ever remember, and they show time lived and loved. I took pictures of hands of people that I loved in the many nursing home patients that I was fortunate to take care of. Yes, I too remember life’s events, joys, worries by how people use their hands. Miss you, thanks for sharing, Mj

    1. Rebecca says:

      Thank you so much for sharing those hand stories, MJ. We have so much in common!! Miss you, too…

  2. Kayte says:

    I never look at hands…I couldn’t tell you if I had my mother’s or my father’s or if anyone else has hands that look like mine. I’ve never thought to look at hands. I wonder if I will now.

    1. Rebecca says:

      I wonder, too… so weird how we all focus on different things.

  3. andi & beth says:

    I love your description of your father’s hands and now I wonder what my hands look like when I walk…

  4. Beautiful. I see my mother’s hands when I look at mine now that she’s gone.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jill S. says:

    I think about hands, but only in relation to my family! My father has the hands of a white-collar worker, soft and unmarked. They are always slightly cool. My mom’s hands are tiny, her fingers barely able to reach an octave on the piano. The backs are mapped with veins that stand out, like her mother’s. I expect mine to look like that some day, after all my adventures and travels.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Lovely, Jill…. 🙂

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