Victor Schrager worked during the 1990’s, pilule photographing over 100 species of North American birds, titling one of his greatest works ‘Bird Hands’. Schrager has his subjects secured by a professional ornithologist, who holds them gently from behind a screen of fabric, and so the birds are photographed before they become restless. Schrager emphasizes a dialogue between human hands and avian form, however the birds are photographed in a static position. Their lack of flight neutralizes their essence, just as we neutralize our connection with the natural world.
Whilst researching my Embroidered Hands series, I discovered Schrager’s avian portraits. His work involves the human hands of the ornithologist and their specific grips, though simultaneously the subject – the bird – is the focus. The hands are vital, both in Schrager’s and my own work, when holding his living creatures and my inanimate material. Although my embroideries are impressionistic they speak loudly of the materialistic attitude of today, such as chemically dyed thread, chemical dyed linen, and plastic.