Today at the St Vincent Nursing Home in Lacaune about 200 people gathered for the unveiling of Mabel Odessey’s project ‘Lifelines’. A personal reponse to the way our culture treats the elderly and the taboos attached with growing old and death. The photographs show the strength still visible in these hands that worked most of their lives. The particular atmosphere of pinhole photographs gives a timeless aspect to the images while the blurry parts hint at the impermanence in every moment.
The project began in Januaury 2013, during weekly photo sessions Mabel photographed with her pinhole camera the hands of the residents. The long exposure times of the pinhole camera enabled the photographer and the subject to talk. Not being behind the camera but in conversation with the subject meant that these sessions were exchanges. They were a welcome interruption to the usual routine and solitude felt by many. There were eye opening stories and extraordinary tales from these ‘ordinary’ country people. Some of which were recorded by the radio journalist Celine Roucayrol and later broadcast.
Hands not only record the life but they are the part of the body that we make contact with, holding hands, helping hands, clenched, grasping, letting go….we all need a hand. Old age and dependence are negative words, however maybe we can re-examine these attitudes and find that we are all interdependent and no matter what our age we are all heading for old age and death perhaps we can get there more joyfully.