After my neighbours of 20 years were suddenly moved up to a nursing home I felt I had to turn my pinhole camera to address old age and how our society has over the years isolated the elderly. We assign great value to antiques and ancient artifacts, however as people start showing signs of age, retire from working life they become more and more invisible and are considered more like burdens than valuables.
Photographing the hands of the residents of the Maison de Retraite St Vincent in Lacaune France I am retracing the experiences that have worn lines, toughened skin, and distorted fingers. During the longish exposures (around 4 minutes) we chat. A journalist from the local radio station joins in and records the conversations.
Asking people to pose with their hands surprises them, their idea of photography is pretty much limited to family snaps. They relax, keep their hands still while we share. I feel privileged to hear their stories, and gain some insight into how women in rural post war France juggled careers and family against a background of provincial traditionalism in a pretty hostile climate in winter.