Mike’s favorite toy was a slinky. I took a photograph of him playing with it on one of my first visits to his Day Program. Mike is my older brother. He is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. After living in a large institution for a good portion of his life, Mike was placed in a group home. I used to visit him there and at his Day Program, where the staff provided activities for all their clients.
Since the point of this recent series of posts is gesture, I do not republish the photograph here. But I encourage you to see the post in which it was originally published. I am very proud of that picture.
The emphasis of the original photograph is not on Mike’s hands per se. I want to concentrate on the emotional content of the gestures instead of dwelling on hand position and what it means about Mike, except to say that I can identify Mike by the characteristic way he holds his right hand.
The right hand and the left hand are held differently. The right hand seems to be holding slinky very delicately, while the left hand is almost clumsy in its grasp of the slinky; the slinky just seems to be held by accident. How are these two gestures related? Do they set up an emotional tension? Visually they are almost equivalent. They have the same tonal values and weight on the page. One must look carefully at each gesture to make any sense out of it.
Since the above study is a sketch, I will be thinking of possible ways to unify the visual elements. Perhaps doing this will set up a visual tension to match the different gestures of each hand.
Note: I may be running out of gestures from my photo library, but I will try my best to keep this series going.
Thank you all for reading.