Today is a double feature on the hand project. It was a day that found me thinking a lot about holding on, in the best way. It’s easy in this day of constantly new distractions to denigrate holding on to something or someone as attachment. Yet, there is also a form of holding on that expresses determination, devotion, and dedication.
First, our son was riding his bike around the city today and holding on far too firmly on his handles bars. I had to explain that he need not grip things quite so tightly. Of course, he was partly afraid of falling but he was also simply trying very hard to balance, pedal, and not run in to a random passerby. He was determined to figure it all out and I was impressed by his full body effort—down to his toes and finger tips. Eventually, he understood that if he gripped the handles a little more softly he would have more energy for pedaling. I managed to grab a couple frames as he whizzed by.
On the way home I saw this woman talking and motioned to her that I would like to take her picture. She seemed to acquiesce and so I grabbed some as she passed us by. I didn’t get something I liked until this one:
She was well past us at this point but I still enjoyed the way she was holding up her phone despite having a headset in. It’s so easy to condemn people using technology these days—get off your phones, stop texting, etc. But maybe this woman is talking to a beloved that is deployed in the Navy, maybe a parent ailing at home back East, perhaps a sibling in need of some good advice.
We just never know what people are going through and I think that’s one of the many things I love about photography. For a frozen moment, we are free to ponder what that person might be going through, where they’ve been and where they’re going. I hope that cultivates in us a greater compassion, a greater understanding, a greater willingess to be hospitable to others and otherness more generally.