Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 22) – Hands of Life Series # One

18 March 2019


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Hands of Life Series; Sally W. Donatello 2019 All Rights Reserved

Hands of Life Series; Sally W. Donatello 2019 All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request. 


Since the beginning of human communication, hands worked their magic. Their mainstay became their utilitarian purpose. But as humanity evolved they became a critical source in silent visual communication. One hand can perform many gestures. Two hands can increase the interaction and speak without uttering one word. One hand can place itself over one’s heart. A hand can be clutched. Two hands multiply effects. There are limitless actions and gestures that place hands in a category that defy comparison. “On the other hand” expresses two contrasting views similar to what photography does in its journey through time and space. Photography often presents a literal point of view that may in fact be interpreted figuratively, and actually was created to have more than one meaning.

As these thoughts percolated, I imagined a new series that would convey the interaction and significance of the interdependence of nature and human nature. Much can be communicated through the quiet and loud proclamations of a hand’s stillness or movement. Much can be communicated by what is seen or unnoticed in the seeing.

In the Lens section is my first attempt at this visual storytelling: my hand holding a dried seedpod from a wisteria; the elegant pod speaks volumes about silence that can unleash vocal cadence and even havoc. Wisteria is one of Spring’s most beauteous and fragrant flowering vines. The open seedpod (with one seed remaining) represents a traveler across time whose life cycle spreads nature’s majesty. Wisteria symbolizes immortality and expanding consciousness, which matches my hope for Mother Earth: an evergreen existence.

For the last few decades I have been training wisteria wherever my journey takes me. In my current home, the wisteria (almost 20 years old) has been trained freeform, and its shape proclaims a Zen-like aesthetic. As it grows and becomes stronger and more robust, it evolved into a tree that exudes confidence.

This species needs constant attention; it’s aggressive growth means weekly pruning from spring to autumn. But that attention gives ample time to train it into the heart’s desire and nature’s meanderings. Creativity is boundless in this effort, and parallels the pleasures that a symbiotic relationship with nature provides.

The collage shows the power of Mother nature’s endurance, being able to withstand (momentarily) human interference. My hope is the tides will move with greater speed toward the coexistence that is needed to rescue our planet, our home.


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20 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 22) – Hands of Life Series # One

  1. It’s a beautiful montage. The repetition of the hand and the seedpod of the wisteria makes for a deeper story and a visual complexity that is captivating,

  2. restlessjo says:

    The montage is very pleasing, Sally 🙂 🙂

  3. Lignum Draco says:

    The repetition, contrasts and lines make that a powerful photomontage. Your new series sounds very interesting.

  4. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Sally. Lovely montage and homage to the coexistence between mother nature and human beings. I’d love to see your “take” on fingerprints and leaf “prints” (circulation systems).

  5. I just started seeing your blog again! I love your photo montage of human and nature- subtle but evident.

  6. Your wisteria must look amazing and smell even better, Sally.


  7. smilecalm says:

    leaves 🙂

  8. I’ve got to “hand” it to you, Sally, you have hit on a wonderful topic this week. I like the way your repeated images mimicked the entangled, entwined vines of a Wisteria. Happy Monday.

  9. Prior... says:

    Your wisteria sound wonderful

  10. Amy says:

    Can’t imagine how beautiful your 20-year old wisteria is. I know it does take a lot of patience and time to take care of it.

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