Hands was photographed during a two hour workshop in 2008 with the Seniors Wellness group at the Davenport Perth Neighborhood Centre in Toronto, as part of an internship I had with Jumblies Theatre, a community-engaged arts organization. Before the images were made, the women shared stories: what they liked to do with their hands, what they liked about their hands, how they felt about their hands now. We then asked them to write a sentence based on the discussion on a long piece of adding machine paper, and one at a time, we brought them up to sit in front of the camera.
It was an interesting experiment in collaboration for me, as I was beginning to explore community-engaged arts and what it meant to collaborate with non-artists to produce work. When planning the workshop, I had been concerned about whether the participants would feel like they were making the images too, not just being shot by a professional photographer. After making the Hands portraits, I realized that I could expand my definition of collaboration, as each woman brought something different to each photograph.