During the Coronavirus pandemic, the need to wash our hands has been one of the things we are all united in. You can also tell so much about a person or situation through hands. Their appearance, gestures, the way they’re positioned or held, is a language of its own.
One of the initial shoot plans was to use placement of hands and the autumn leaves we were surrounded by at the time, to show the division between the subjects and subjects and the viewer.
But I soon realised that the privilege in my immediate community was more prevalent than I’d noticed before. I struggled to include a more diverse range of people in the series without going further afield.
The few adversities I learned of and shared as part of the project, both shocked and educated some people. That was all the encouragement I needed to keep going. But there weren’t enough subjects in my community to continue with the theme.
Then the BLM movement, became significant and the work I’d started took on a different tone. If I’d continued to shoot in the same way, I think it would have encouraged division and diminished my subjects experiences. The opposite of what I was intending.
And no matter where you sit on the fence in any social division, people aren’t ready to accept that humanity might be a faster-spreading and deeper problem than the virus that’s been on our doorsteps. People struggle to hear that we might spend too much time thinking about our own bubbles or materialistic things. People already think they’re compassionate and so might not be open to the idea that they’re not.
But adversity and unseen divisions due to income gaps, gender inequality, health care, mental health and social class, are greatly misunderstood.
These images are some of the outtakes from the project - Ngatahi.