The matter at hand

I’ve never been more hyper-aware of my hands. Where they’ve been, what they’ve touched, how long since they’ve been washed.

But hands do much more than pass on pathogens. They shape the way we move through the world – the way we socialise, the way we communicate and caress.

With our hands…

Peter Peryer Thea’s Hand 1997. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Program 1998. © Estate of Peter Peryer

We enfold and embrace…

Max Dupain Untitled (hands and watches) 1936–1939. Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Diana Dupain 2003

We mark the rhythm of a day through repeated gestures…

Edward Steichen The Play of Modern Hands (hands of Ilka Chase, Backgammon) 1931. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1989. © The Estate of Edward Steichen/ARS. Licensed by Copyright Agency

We navigate and calculate risk…

Pat Brassington The permissions #3 2013. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Program 2013. © Pat Brassington

We grip – white-knuckled and wary…

Michael Riley Untitled (crucified hands) 1992. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1993. © Michael Riley Foundation. Licensed by Copyright Agency

We surrender…

Max Dupain Untitled (fashion illustration: hands with pearl necklace) 1930s. Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Diana Dupain 2000

We yearn…

Anne Zahalka Allure 1993. Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Amanda Love 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. © Anne Zahalka. Licensed by Copyright Agency

We desire…

David Moore CSR employees, Pyrmont – 3 1984. Art Gallery of New South Wales, CSR Photography Project Collection – Bicentennial Gift of CSR Limited 1988. © Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore

And yes, we protect.

Ronnie van Hout Self titled 1995. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Program 2002. © Ronnie van Hout

(The end)