Friday, August 4, 2017

The Hands of Traveling

A recent hobby that I've picked up lately during traveling is taking pictures of hands. Most of the time it's hands of craftsmen. Reason being is that when traveling I meet different people with different professions and livelihood, to which hands are usually involved. Whether it's a writer, IT guy, a textile maker, a pottery maker, a batik maker, a street food vendor, a becak driver, most of them (or should I say us) use our hands to survive.

In the case of craftsmen, I've always admire hands as an extension of the creative mind. Imagine, the process that goes in a brain to then be translated into art. What makes it different to artists is humility, I think. These people make things not to be acknowledged as creative, but to live and survive. Their hands are usually rugged with scars, nothing beautiful, and far from instagramable.

My first photo was when I went to Cirebon. The hands of a batik worker had turned into splashes of red and yellow from the dye. The batik worker mention that it was a day to day thing for him. And the batik that came out from the workshop was beautiful. From then, I've been taking pictures of hands of people I find extraordinary in making a living. I do as much as I can remember, which unfortunately, isn't all the time.

One of my recent experience was a failed attempt that I'd like to retry one day. I met a cook in the Pekojan Village, during the annual breaking fast of the area. Because I'm a girl, I was kept inside the house during the event, where men roamed the roads. I was quite happy just being in the house, watching the women prepare a mass amount of food for the guests. Among the women passing and plating countless dishes, was the main cook, an old lady, that didn't stand out in the crowd. I had known that she was the cook from the boss, the lady who owned the house.

I approached the cook by the end of the night. Apparently, she was has been cooking for the annual breaking fast for a long time. I asked her if I could take a picture of her hands, she declined. Turns out that she didn't like the fact that people exposed her in medias and she had bad experience with them, which she would not tell. The fact that I wasn't even going to take a picture of her face (which most of the time is the issue), made me think maybe it had gone really bad and she just had had enough.

I was kinda disappointed that some media had been unethical, blocking my wanting to take a picture of her hands. But then again, I might not always succeed anyways.  

Ha.. that was one of the hands that I failed to take a picture of, and yet I really wanted. Let this be a note of reminder, that maybe one day, I would be able to capture the hand that cooked the delicious Arab inspired meal in Pekojan.