Just 15 miles from my home in a small rural town in Appalachia there’s an old boathouse nestled on the lake, built in the 1950’s, where 2 best friends have worked side-by-side for the last 45 years repairing and restoring vintage wooden boats. I photographed them in 2019 and their months-long process of restoration. No 3-D printers, no computerized design programs – just tools, sandpaper, and hundreds and hundreds of hours of labor, a lifetime of experience, and hands that know how to bend, carve, curve, and shape a boat to it’s former glory. With no one to hand this business down to, I was struck by the innate beauty and specific skill-set required for their work and it’s potential to be lost over time.
These Hands is an exploration, a telling of the skills of a time gone by – a collision of art and human connection through artisanry. Boat restoration, sheep shearers, potters, bookbinders and more have become my subjects in this on-going project that takes a deeper look at the skills and the hands that know them to create, connect, and bring centuries of human skill to an increasingly mechanized and automated society.