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Grateful, Gentle Hands

October 15, 2008

I have been taking photographs of my children’s hands since March when I took those black and white ones while my son was napping. I like the idea of documenting what their hands are capable of and what textures interest them.  Maria Montessori wrote of the importance of hands, and I feel like these photographs reflect her philosophy well.

My original thought was to make a board book that would be durable.  But I also needed publishing the book to be feasible.  So, I went with the option of a hardcover photo book (8″ x 8″) from Snapfish.  I put all of the appropriately-themed photos into one folder and began to digitally assemble my children’s book.  There was the option to caption the photos, so I started each page with “Grateful, gentle hands . . .” and finished the descriptions accordingly.  I think I made the captions too personal to be able to market it to other families (if I were that ambitious).  There is a board book Hands Can, which is already available and along the same lines.  For the moment, I just wanted to try it with our family’s photographs.  If you want the link to the “Grateful, Gentle Hands” book I made with Snapfish, I can email it to you.

This is a project you may want to do.  There is something enchanting about seeing hands so detailed, taking up most of the photograph.  Actually anyone could do it, not just those with children.  It is meant to show the ideal way of moving in the world gratefully, gently.  I’ll be the first to admit that this is not what our lives are really like.  The moments were real, but at the same time the photos were staged and I took them with a definite bias.  These photographs are to remind us of those moments when we have grateful, gentle hands.  A gardener with dark soil caked in her fingernails . . . a farmer’s hands collecting eggs . . . hands touching a cat’s fur . . . hands on an heirloom quilt.

Here are three examples from the photo book.

. . .

dusty hand in the garden

Grateful, gentle hands get dusty playing in the garden.

. . .

washing the dishes

Grateful, gentle hands become clean as they wash the dishes in warm, soapy water.

. . .

prickly seed pod

Grateful, gentle hands lightly touch a prickly seed pod. Watch out! Those spines are sharp.

. . .

  1. October 15, 2008 1:34 pm

    Great idea and shots my friend! Also thank you so much for your most recent comment…it means so much to me!

  2. October 16, 2008 6:59 am

    Thanks for returning the visit to my blog, D L. I’m enjoying photography as a mother. You are most welcome for my comment. I will continue to have your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. October 16, 2008 10:57 am

    This is such a fantastic idea and the samples you’ve shown here are just lovely 🙂

  4. October 16, 2008 4:15 pm

    Thanks, Amy. I think it’s going to be a calming, peaceful book. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

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