Exhibit XXI

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1 June - 30 September 2007

Dedicated to my grandniece Christine Louise Ricksecker, affectionately known as "Buzzy"

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Hands On - II

    Throughout my life, I have admired the shape and dexterity of the human hand as well as the numerous and varied ways in which it is put to use - for utilitarian works, for expressive purposes and for many of life's other pleasures.

    In the spring of 2004, with the construction of an addition to our home, and the willing assent of our general contractor, I had the rare opportunity to document up close the myriad ways in which the human hand is still put to use in one of humankind's oldest occupations - building shelter.

    Although our inventiveness through the ages has reduced the time and hardship in constructing shelters and other fashioned objects, our hands still remain the essential link between the concept and the manifestation of so many of our dreams and aspirations, whether they be artistic or utilitarian or both. 

Cement Mix. Mason Neck, Virginia.  2004  Charles Albert Huckins

     This project is one primarily intended to document that process as it applies to the construction of an early 21st century American residential dwelling in a still rural part of northern Virginia. It will be presented on this web site in three separate installments of 32 images each over the course of the next year. This is the second of those installments.

    Just as important to this photographer - a maker of silver gelatin images in the traditional, wet darkroom fashion up through the completion of this project - has been to demonstrate that grace in the use of the human hand is not limited to our artistic or expressive activities alone. The materials, tempo, and venue of a construction site might tend to obscure the hand's critical part in creativity going on there, but the camera, with its ability to freeze an instant, helps to reveal to us a sense of the hand's inherent beauty in the construction of even something very utilitarian.

    This project was shot in three months during the spring of 2004 although the printing of many of the images garnered then was not completed until March 2006. Shortly afterward, I ceased printing in the wet darkroom altogether. Lest we shed too many tears for the old ways, let's not forget that handling keyboards and mouses, instead of enlarger knobs and tray tongs, in the pursuit of satisfying images, are the same old hands...

 

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