Last year I finished a project of having all of my old 35mm negatives scanned, some 200 rolls from high school and university.  From time to time, I have reason to go in and browse the files, sometimes finding things that I think would be interesting to share.  So it was with these two black and white photos of a hand in water.  The photos were shot in 1993 in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. and the hand belongs to my boyfriend at the time, Bruce.


We were in the District of Columbia for the March of Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, a protest rally in April 1993 that saw crowds of several hundred thousand gather on the Mall.  I was in university at the time and traveled there with Bruce, my former professor and faculty advisor, Karen, who was by that time studying her doctorate at Ohio University, and two other people.  We drove from Athens, Ohio to DC, spent two nights there, and then drove back.

In those days I was definitely in the fifth stage of the Cass identity model.  Everything was gay this and gay that and I was in a place where I needed to be loud and proud, to the exclusion of most everything else that made up my larger identity.  That’s okay, that’s part of the process of coming to terms with one’s identity as a GLBT individual.  And I’ve been safely in the sixth stage – Synthesis – for a dozen or more years now.


While we were in DC for this march, I had the opportunity to shoot a lot of black and white, a format that DC seems well suited for, what with its monuments and stark, governmental buildings.  The lack of color makes it easier to focus on the textures.  That is perhaps the perfect metaphor for this political city, where everything really is a shade of grey!

These two pictures have long been favorites of mine.  I had them framed a few years later, despite going through a bad breakup with Bruce, and they’ve been on my walls almost continuously ever since.  In fact, Tawn likes them so much (despite to whom the hand belongs!) that they are propped up on either side of our TV in the Annex.


0 thoughts on “Hands

  1. Those are definitely frame-worthy photos!!  For the longest time I refused to believe that digital was better than old-fashioned 35mm, perhaps because I haven’t mastered the fine art of using my digital camera.

  2. @lil_squirrel4ever – For the longest time, I resisted going digital.  My biggest concern was the impermanence of digital files.  With the 35mm I have the negatives and they’ve lasted 20+ years already and likely will last 100 more with good storage.  But with digital files, no matter how many backups you make, you’re fighting a race against technology that changes much more rapidly.  How many old diskettes do I have that don’t fit any computers anymore?  And how many of the files on them can no longer be opened by any current program?  Anyhow, I’m going on a tangent.  Long story short, I finally decided that digital was worth it as I could get more immediate feedback on my shots and correct them right away, resulting in fewer occassions without good photos.@vsan79 – Always good for a refresh of pictures, right?@Roadlesstaken – Certainly, Alex.  Both you and Meg will most definitely be on the to-visit list whenever Tawn and I make it to DC.@decembriel – Thanks.  Photos are so much more meaningful when they have the story behind them to give them life and context.

  3. They are beautiful – not sure why but the second one is really moving. I think it is my affinity with water thing. Food project up and posted. Not sure how to tag.

  4. Wow… they are indeed very frame worthy. There’s something about the water flowing over the hands contrasting with the hard concrete. I wonder what Bruce would think if he knew you still have these displayed.

  5. @Fatcat723 – They actually could use a re-framing.  They’re still in cheap acrylic frames that are a bit the worse for wear.  One of these days I’ll take them to the corner framing shop two blocks down and get something nicer put on them.@Umnenga – No need to tag; I’ve already ready and responded with some questions.  It looks like a lovely dinner.@stevew918 – With the negatives, I found it very cost-effective to have them scanned by a reputable photo shop here in Bangkok.  Labor costs are, of course, the most of it.@choyshinglin – Cassette players aren’t that hard to find, are they?  There’s one in a stereo unit I bought just three years ago.  Of course, I’ve never played anything in it…

  6. @Wangium –  Tawn does not know him. Do you? (Entirely possible…)@epiginoskete –  Thank you, the second one speaks a little bit more to me, too.@yang1815 –  That would be an idea, but wouldn’t it create a sense of comparison? Gotta watch out for those unspoken messages!@adamswomanlost –  Thank you. A longtime friend and former roommate of mine was fascinated by hands and did some sculpting of clay hand models, even though she was very much a technical/engineering sort of person and otherwise didn’t have a lot of a creative/artistic side.@bloggingqueen –  @ZSA_MD –  Thank you both for your kind words.

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