Conceptual Portrait The Hands (Part II)

conceptual portrait photography The Hands

These images from the series “The Hands” which was accredited Associateship Qualification at MIPP (Malta Institute of Professional Photography)


Statement of Intent:
This portrait series was created from 20 photo shoots with 20 selective models from different ethnicities in Europe with different skin tones. Each model was given the same outfit and the same instructions. The models were placed in a small, boxed and confined space. Metaphorically, it is the world we are living in. They were asked to think about the emotions such as stressed, depressed, worried, confused and anxious, and use their hands, arms and the face to express the emotions. They were given the opportunity in a place and time to freely express their own unique expressions. It’s to demonstrate individual human expression through different individual life experience and personality.

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“The Hands” #11
Model:Lucia Simonova

“We, as human beings, think that we’re thinking. Not true. Most of the time, we’re remembering. We’re re-living memories. We’re running familiar patterns and loops in our head. For happiness, for procrastination, for sadness. Fears, hopes, dreams, desires. We have loops for everything.” Quote from the book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant. 

I love this book. It reminds me our human nature and taught me to switch loops. There were times that a memory triggers the negative emotions, with this knowledge, I could switch it to a positive one.

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“The Hands” #12
Model:Brunella Bujeja

When we throw ourselves in the intense emotion and pain, our body pays the price. 
How can we learn to express our emotion in a better way? By practice it and to be kind to ourselves. We can’t change the situation but we can change the way we look at it.

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“The Hands” #13
Model:Sabrina Zammit Busuttil

How I create this series?

I chose only a few key elements and stuck with them. The lighting, the outfit and the instructions are all the same. The only difference is people, I used different models. I could use 1 model, 2 models or just 4 models to complete this project, so why 20? Because I know every human being is unique and the life experience is differ from one another. If I use more models, more variety of expression can be covered therefore the series can be easier to be related by the viewers. It was a real challenge to find 20 models with different background, age and nationality. But I’m lucky! In Malta, we have such a diverse community, it makes it easier to find the variety.

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“The Hands” #14
Model:Gaby Curmi Makeup by Yanika Tatyana Bonello

How we deal with difficult emotions? Like shame, grief, fear, disappear, disappointment.

When we numb our pain, we also numb our joy. by Brene Brown

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“The Hands” #15
Model:Victoria Pisani Makeup by Zoe Muscat

“Fighting fear doesn’t work. It just drags us in closer. One has to focus on what is real. On the truth. When in darkness, don’t fight it. You can’t win. Just find the nearest switch, turn on the light.” Quote from the book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant.

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“The Hands” #16
Model:Olga Sunny Makeup by Moises Urena

Lean into discomfort instead of running away from the emotions which created by discomfort. When we numb the dark we also numb the light. From the book The gift of imperfection by Brene Brown.

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“The Hands” #17
Model:Gabriela Gherghel Makeup by Moises Urena

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“The Hands” #18
Model:Mandy Micallef Makeup by Zoe Muscat

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“The Hands” #19
Model:Aiden Makeup by @makeuphairby_honorine

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“The Hands” #20
Model:Nicole Schembri

The last image of the series, it was the last shoot of the series. By the time I had the shoot, I already had the idea what the panel would look like so it was easier to execute the shoot. Nicole is a professional dancer and dancers are known for their expressive body language, she did a great job here.