Things I Should Have Said Pt. 1
For 2014 I wanted to do a project for myself. A project that pushed my boundaries not only as a photographer, but as a writer. I have a page in my journal and in the center of the page with big black sharpie I wrote ‘things I should have said’. It now has layers of words and phrases, small afterthoughts of the times when I was quiet. I often times find myself at a loss for words in certain moments of my life. Whether those moments are times of happiness, sadness, frustration, it isn’t until after those moments have past that I find the words i wished I would have said.
This self portrait series is dedicated to all the things I wish I would have said.
Can I photograph your hands?
The skin was thin, a reddish purplish color. The kind of color you see on the hands of people you know have had a long life filled with stories. Strong hands that guided her from Croatia to America at the young age of 18. Hands that held and raised two beautiful children. Hands that worked, cooked, prayed and comforted. I remember her veins were very large, they stuck out like a small pipeline filled with blood, ever so intriguing to my small child eyes. Her nails where thin and shaped like almonds. Each of her fingers were crooked, twisted and bent from years of arthritis. They reminded me of crab claws due to her limited mobility. However, even with the lack of mobility and immense pain she still was able to crochet. Creating some of the most beautifully detailed doilies I had ever seen, gifting them to my family and I at birthdays and special holidays.
I never really realized the value of these small presents until after she died. As much as I hate to admit, I never really realized the value and importance of her, as a human, until after she died. I was young and naive. I thought she would live forever. But then one morning I woke up and she was dead. I cried for a long while. Cried out of sadness, and cried out of regret. It sucks, you know, to regret the time you didn’t spend with someone. The things you never said, the questions you never asked. I remember seeing her hands gently folded in her casket, even then I thought about taking a photo of them, but felt it would be weird to photograph the hands of a corpse…I still regret that moment, too.
I thought this story would be a good place to start my journey because this not only is a time in my life when I wished I would have said something, but a time in my life when I wished I would have photographed something.
I mean, why the hell didn’t I just ask “Grandma, can I please photograph your hands?”