HANDS A photographic series by Marty Cohen

I want to dedicate this series to our close friend and family member, Dr. Charlie Smith who we recently lost. He was a man who shared his love, compassion, wisdom and humor with all who encountered him. As a Pediatric Radiologist he spent his life using images to save the lives of an untold number of infants and children. We will miss you!

Why Hands?

Hands do so much and say so much and we use them in so many different ways. We take them for granted and often don’t even notice them. They build and they destroy, they calm and they anger, they can soothe and can hurt. Hands are young and old, smooth and wrinkled, small and large, and light and dark. Hands also give and take, hug and push away, they shake hands and they hold other hands, they can be sensual. Hands can communicate, they write and they erase, they program computers and use computers, they draw and they paint, they construct and they sculpt, and exercise and rest. They grow food, cook food and help to eat food. Hands play music and they conduct orchestras. And, oh yes, hands create photographic images (and so much more)!

So this is my homage to hands and all they do for us, and all the ways we use them. They are really as expressive as the eyes when we pay close attention. Many of the images in this series were not originally made because of the hands. But, as I reviewed the almost 80,000 digital images I've made over the last 18 years, I discovered some of the most interesting hands and they, then, became the focus of the image.

As I studied each image, I waited for a single or two word title to come to me. Once I had the title, I searched and chose a quote to go with each image. The quote needed to express what I saw and felt looking at the hands. This series will be an ongoing, and probably, never ending collection because I find hands to be so interesting and so expressive. As you scroll down and look at them, imagine you are in a gallery and they are hanging on the gallery walls. Then contemplate what you see and feel as you view them. Thank you for taking the time to allow me to share my work with you.


As a Pediatrician, I've seen young children comfort themselves in many ways. So the word "comfort" came to mind as I studied this image.
This is one of the images that I specifically did want to capture the hands. I've seen these hands sharpen knives for many years and they speak of careful experience and respect for the sharpened knife.
This image touched my heart and spoke of the love and comfort we provide when offering solace with a hug.
When we provide for others it's an expression of our love..
I met this woman along a roadside stand in Morocco. She was with a young child and appeared to be the head of the family.
I especially liked the small piece of the salmon that fell out of the section being sliced and sat there as if to say, "I will be the imperfection that defines the perfection."
Children have enormous curiosity and they love to investigate and learn.
To roll the pizza crust dough to a consistent thickness requires a steady hand and patience.
The position of hands, the rings and the Kaftan together says "contemplation" to me.
Each year my wife's family celebrates New Years with an amazing Japanese New Years meal that we all contribute to making. The family matriarch is the 90+ year old Auntie Uta. Here she makes Inari Zushi, one of the traditional Japanese dishes. The family comes together each New Years to celebrate the tradition of Japanese cooking and sharing this wonderful food with family and friends.

All images are ©2008-2016 Marty Cohen

Created By
Marty Cohen


All images are ©2008-2016 Marty Cohen

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