More Bones

More bones from the anatomy book mentioned in the previous posting. (see below)
Drawn by William Cheselden (1688 -1752), interestingly, a camera obscura was used, this being just before the simultaneous discovery by a number of individuals of ways of fixing the image onto paper. It is interesting that modern photography was, in part, invented by chemists. I like this relationship between photography and science. Someone once said that photography has a science father and an art mother.

Hands and feet are subjects that I have returned to many times in my work, don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Below is a photo called Thea’s Hand. I made this photo in 1997 when I was artist-in-residence at Canterbury University.

The daughter of some friends, I wanted to photograph Thea’s hands but was not sure how to compose the image. Her parents, however had a marble topped table, and quite spontaneously, I decided to have her place her hand on it, and then to place her left hand on top of mine. This enabled me to use the camera with my right hand.

Christchurch at that time was in ferment because of the Civic Creche sex abuse case, where several individuals were arrested and charged with multiple sex crimes against children enrolled there. It was one of those cases that at that time had become common throughout the Western world, generated largely by fundamentalist Christians, and, amazingly, feminist gender politics. Charges of the ritual abuse of children were placed, all of them based entirely on children’s testimony, much of it recalled under repeated questioning by ‘counsellors’.

When I first arrived to take up my residency I was asked what I wanted to photograph. I replied that, most of all, I wanted to photograph the famous toilets of the closed down creche, where much of the alleged abuse took place. This request did not go down well so I rapidly gave up on that idea.

Generally, I would say that my work is not political, but sometimes I wonder if the photo that I took of Thea’s hand is in some way a response to what was taking place in Christchurch. A healing I would like to think.