18 May 2014

Chelsea Fringe: Shows of Hands

As an alternative to the Chelsea Flower Show - which I will now be visiting (*thrilled*) - the Chelsea Fringe, now in its third year, has become hugely popular and even global! It's a massive success story and worth checking the Fringe website to see if anything is happening in your neck of the woods.  If not, why not organise something for next year?

VP from Veg Plotting blog who organised the globally accessible Fringe cake event, The Bloggers' Cut, last year has come up with another winning event for this year.  Her project is called 'Shows of Hands' and you can read about it on her blog.  It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can join in - and the more the merrier!

I don't like the look of my own hands; they are outdoor hands, lined and with age spots creeping in,  but I've been drawn to images of working hands since I first studied photography as part of my belated design degree at St. Martins two decades ago. I was initially inspired by Dorothea Lange's images of the migrant farm families, the American dustbowl pioneers in the Depression era.  I'm therefore hugely excited by VP's project and have trawled back through my veg patch photos to see if my own hands have crept into any of my pics.  There was a total of five over the past few years and I asked my son to take the last photo - me on the balcony, gently stroking and talking to my plants, an activity I indulge in daily.

I'm pleased with the ones that I've found as I think they reveal a little of the joy that I get from immersing myself in all aspects of being an urban grower. Working hands, working towards a simple life.

Batter coating courgette flowers for deep frying; plaiting onions; checking roots before repotting; talking to my plants. 

#shows of hands
I'm calling my collage 'Gardener Cook'
All photos taken at my home in London NW5 between 2012 and 2014.


Read more about the Fringe in this Daily Telegraph article.

23 comments:

  1. Yes, it's funny that photographers so seldom get photographed - even bits of them. A few years ago I wanted to enter some photos for a competition and it asked for one to be of the gardener themselves, so my wife took a couple of shots of me. Looking at those is probably what got me interested in photography, because I suddenly realised the potential for recording events in the garden - so the blog was born!

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    1. Ah, and you haven't looked back since, Mark! Amazing how inspiration will strike through the simplest of acts - and you've certainly built on that inspiration with some superb photos on your blog! I hope you'll be entering the Shows of Hands now!

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  2. A most enjoyable 'Show of Hands' post. Enjoy the proper show! Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks, Flighty, I hope I will! I'm looking forward to seeing more entries for Shows of Hands as the project develops!

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  3. Great pics and post. I like the idea of capturing your hands over time, and linking growing with cooking.

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    1. Thank you, Gwenfar - and well done for being the first entrant to VP's project. I was just lucky to have these photos on file as they were mostly taken while demonstrating something for the blog! All my veg end up in the kitchen so it seemed obvious to give the rounded view!

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  4. Your hands look most capable and caring Caro. I see that your feet have crept in too. I don't like my hands either and now wish that I'd listened to my mother's advice to wear gloves and use handcream more often. New blog header or me being unobservant? It's most attractive.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Anna - that's a really lovely thing to say/write. Haha, yes, I realised that my tootsies were in the shot! I tend to go barefoot all the time at home, something I never lost after a childhood living in the tropics. My hands were on the road to ruin when I developed my own photographs without wearing gloves; the developing fluids play havoc on the hands! I now rub hand cream in throughout the day as they get so dry - advice MY mum neglected to share with me!! Yes, a new header! Well observed. I like to play around with it occasionally and quite liked the uncluttered feel of this one! Thanks for noticing! :) C xx

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  5. What a lovely post....yes, it's all about the hands, without them there would be no garden. Your hands look perfectly ok to me!!!xxx

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    1. So true - and thanks, Snowbird. Without hands there would certainly be no fresh veggies in the garden or seeds being sown!!

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  6. Really good photos, well done for finding some of your hands! I'm so happy that you'll be visiting Chelsea, I hope you have a wonderful time.

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    1. Thanks, CJ, I'll try! As a naturally quite happy person, I shall enjoy mooching around Chelsea, even if the weather is inclement! Of course, it would be so helpful if the sun was to shine on the day but I'll no doubt come back with millions of photos regardless!

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  7. It looks huge fun, I did see it mentioned on Flightys post! I shall investigate further. Courgette flowers lucky you, I do hope to have some soon! Have a great time at Chelsea.

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    1. Oh yes do give it a go, Joanne - I'd love to see what you come up with! The project is open to everyone so I hope that the more we blog about it, the further the news will reach!! The courgette flowers were from last year but I have plenty of plants on the go for this year as well so am expecting another bumper crop!! Cxx

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  8. lovely post thanks for sharing

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  9. Love the header, and your hand shots. The butcher commented that I must have been gardening, I thought it was because of my dirty clothes (I'd forgotten I needed to pick the chicken up). Turns out it was my filthy fingernails! Luckily he is a keen gardener himself, so we happily chatted sweet corn varieties and problems with salad crops...

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I felt a tweak was in order! Soil under the nails is a bit of an occupational hazard but it made me smile that for you and your butcher it's a bit like a symbol of an exclusive club membership! It doesn't take much to get gardeners chatting about what they're growing!

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  10. your hands look pretty good to me Caro I had a feeling you had a photographic qualification having studied your pictures on Flickr for some time now

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    1. Thanks, David, - I didn't know you kept an eye on my Flickr account!! Probably more so than I do, these days. I don't like the changes that were made when Flickr was bought out by Yahoo so I post only a few photos there these days. I'll stick with it though but need to rethink the whole album thing…

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  11. A really interesting post. Something I'd like to do too if I can find a few minutes. The problem with taking a day off to go to Chelsea is that I spend the rest of the week playing catch up. ;) I'm keen on my hands either - I never moisturise enough. But I'd much rather have and see hands that do. I heard a hand model being interviewed once and she couldn't do anything other than lather cream into them all day. Doesn't sound like fun to me - what about the gardening? ;)

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  12. Hi Caro - I love Dorothea Lange's photographs. I studied A Level photography for 2 years which was such fun to do and the perfect excuse for experimenting and reading about all my favourite photographers. I still miss wet photography despite what the chemcals do to the hands.

    Thanks for putting such a delightful collage together - it's a lovely connection between growing and cooking you've highlighted there.

    Lovely to see you last week too :)
    xxx

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    1. Ah, a fellow enthusiast! I not only admire Dorothea Lange's photographs but the fact that she was a pioneer in her field of work as it was still very male dominated at that time. Experimenting in the darkroom was my favourite part of the process; it took real skill to get a good print (Ansel Adams was the yardstick to be measured against for b/w) and I loved colour printing - remember Ciba Chrome? Now outlawed as the chemicals were so hazardous!! Great prints though! Ah, well, those were the days, as the song goes … :)
      It was a pleasure to be able to contribute to your project; I'm following the other contributions, looks like it's really taken off! Well done! It was brilliant to meet up and lovely of you to take the time. C xxx

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Caro x

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