February 8, 2019

All in the Hands: Our Visual Roundup of the Week

This week our social feeds reflected an array of news stories big and small, old and new, from the housing crisis in Silicon Valley to the Whitaker hearing to daily life in the West Bank. And of course, there was the State of the Union Address, which offered up all kinds of cringe-worthy imagery of our political elite doing their best to escape the dark side. Until Nancy clapped back.

But from a purely visual standpoint, the through line this week was all in the hands. Hands are wonderful appendages for gesture, and maybe editors are looking for more universal means of expression in these days of identity-driven narrative. Pictures where the placement of a palm can signal the difference between aggression and tenderness. Hands also tell us something about the humans they are attached to, with wrinkles, calluses, and pigment all serving as indicators of personal identity, history, and strength.

As we see below, hands can communicate solidarity, as when thousands of Venezuelans showed up for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, or they can be used as tools of control. An Evan Vucci photo from last summer recently resurfaced as a parallel to the blocking of lawyers and journalist at the U.S.–Mexico border, where it seems the “hand” of censorship has now been extended from domestic campaign rallies to the coverage of migrants abroad. Another cynical move by an administration that prides itself on knowing where to squeeze.


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It’s impressive to me how much magazine covers continues to hold their weight in the digital space. Maybe it’s because I’m a @coverjunkie junkie, but a good cover (just consider all those Trump-era New Yorker covers) will certainly win the internet. What other art or media format provides such regular and brilliant posters? This Metropoli cover, for example, is, yes, striking, evoking every possible aspect of race/racism and music, simply for evoking black keys and white keys by repurposing black and white hands. And “on top of” that, the precise and familiar layering makes the final composition feel almost 3-D. Talk about raising the print form and race consciousness at the same time. (-Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @coverjunkie:⠀ …⠀ ““Piano music and racism” Newest cover @lunametropoli (Spain) THE GREEN BOOK. Photo by #Aqyurant .⠀ .⠀ #artdirector @rodrigosansan 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #coverlove #coverdesign #magazinecover #metropoli #coverjunkie #printisthefutureofonline” #print #hands #bw #music #keyboard #piano #race #racism #art #design #fingers #depth #dimension #layers #culture #consciousness #blackmusic

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Sugano is a staffer at The Mercury News but his photos always feel like more than your typical daily snaps. This image, from a story about a village of RV dwellers in Palo Alto, is a deft illustration of the Bay Area’s housing crisis with reference to its agricultural heritage. Conjuring Silicon Valley’s legacy of bounty, the verdant detail manages to signal resilience (these people are growing their own food for subsistence, after all) while delivering a sharp commentary on the Valley’s more recent claim to fame, and arguably the reason these people are living rough to begin with. No, it’s not an apple, but it might as well be. (- @rian_dundon) ・・・ #Repost @daisugano with @get_repost ・・・ LAST REFUGE series: extras.mercurynews.com/lastrefuge/ RV resident Gene Green with his ripe tomato he’s been growing by his trailer, in October. Green came back to the Bay Area from Houston to care for his disabled mother and aunt who also live in the encampment. Surrounded by the wealth fed by tech titans like Google and Facebook, a small community of blue collar RV dwellers is fighting for the only place they can call home. The working poor are spilling into Bay Area streets for lack of safe, affordable shelter. . . . . #HousingCrisis #BayArea #LastRefuge #Siliconvalley #Housing #Documentary #EastPaloAlto #Journalism #displacement #canon_photos #MercNews #RV #RVlife #photojournalism #everydayusa #everydaybayarea #everydayeverywhere #documentaryphotography

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— Rian Dundon

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Rian Dundon
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