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Art

Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook

American photographer Elliot Erwitt marvels at the power, expressiveness, and significance of hands in a collection of images gathered from around the globe

Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Family at the beach. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 1963 © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook football warm up. Bermuda. 1953. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Diver. London, England. 1978. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Rubber gloves. Sicily, Italy.1965. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt Two figures. Arkadelphia, Alabama, USA. 1954. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Man with bunny girls. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1962. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Suzanne Farrell. Leningrad, Russia. 1989. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Edward Steichen and Ellen Erwitt. New York, USA. 1953. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt Dog being patted. Almeria, Spain. 1987. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook The Victoria and Albert Museum. London, Englang. 1996. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook Che Guevara. Havana, Cuba. 1964. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Elliott Erwitt | Elliot Erwitt's Handbook John F. Kennedy visits Eisenhower. James Hagerty on right. Washington D.C., USA. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

Human (and sometimes non-human) hands are, with the possible exception of the eyes, the most expressive parts of the body. They ask for more or less, telling us to come or go, asking questions and answering them, scolding, rewarding, searching and finding, and at their most intimate, are loving and lustful. We may take our hands for granted, but Elliott Erwitt does not. In our hands, he sees power and wonder, emotion and feeling.

Humanity works through our appendages, and hands have the ability to convey what our words and our facial expressions cannot. Here is Erwitt at his most serious-and-yet-whimsical, giving us the moments that, without hands, would not exist.