I have always pretended that there is not much to how I take photographs hiding behind the Kodak motto ‘you press the button, we do the rest’. I would have said that I take most images singlehanded and this indeed was true when my children were smaller and I focused on improvised play and the city. At the time, I resorted to light weight cameras and often photographed on the way to and from school whilst holding in one hand their lunch bags. This was possible because I worked mostly with preset programs so that I still could talk to my kids and their friends. Other times though, when movement and space were not so restricted I used a tripod and took more control of the settings. Yet I must admit that the most important thing about photographing for me is not when I press the button, it is not the moment when what can be captured becomes somewhat more finite. A large part of what informs the final set of images happens not only in the editing or in post-production but in the reflection throughout. I write notes, I ponder a lot, I scribble, I note down things that matters to me about the context. All these different processes feed then into what eventually becomes a body of work or a set of images.
Each of these methods somehow involves my hands, and mostly my left. I don’t have anything against my right hand, it is useful in assisting in whatever I do, but the left leads, decides and is at the center of the action. If there is any doubt, the various scars on it are there to prove its vital role in my everyday.
Yet since Saturday my precious left hand is out of action. It got caught in the door of the taxi that I closed after a long and eventful trip to my home country. Some would say that this is the price that I needed to pay for closing a chapter in my life. Luckily, the damage is not permanent, in the operation theatre they inserted a wire to give my broken finger a chance to heal properly. All the same though, for the next six weeks my main hand will be barely serviceable. How will that impact on the photographs that I have planned to take as part of my project at x-church? Will I expand the abilities of my right hand, discovering that it is not too bad after all? Will I ask other people to take an image or press the button for me? Is this accident likely to expand the way how I collaborate with the lovely people of x-church? Might photographing in this way be like having your eyes wide shut? Could this help me discover things that I otherwise wouldn’t have? And for writing notes? Might I become desperate enough to start using my right hand?
One thing is certain though, my broken finger won’t stop me taking images, even if they turn out crooked. If lucky, this accident will become an asset to the project and will help me to develop a body of work that I otherwise would not have dreamed of. To start off, the relationship with my camera is likely to be a bit shaky, good old black box might object for its buttons to be touched by unfamiliar fingers. But it will get there and I will get used to it. One thing though is for certain, the journey of my residency has become even more unpredictable and exciting.
This was first published as https://loosespace.wordpress.com/2018/01/24/lost-for-want-of-the-right-hand/