I’m sometimes asked to describe what it was like to live in Japan. In responding, one of the aspects I try to convey is the remarkable manual dexterity which caught my eye early on. This isn’t confined to hands practising the arts and crafts – paring bamboo stems for a fan – but is part of the daily humdrum. The cashier arranging your change on your palm – the deft wrapping of the most humble purchase – the slicing of a melon.
There was repetition and precision in all these but the beauty lay in the attention.
Photographing them, what interests me is the contrast between hands when at work and when at rest – a shift in concentration but equally expressive.