Essay on Photography: Hand and Rachel Eliza

Submitted By ayramisglenn
Words: 2130
Pages: 9

As the oldest of four children, Rachel Eliza was born in Washington D.C. but raised in Wilmington, Delaware. Growing up Rachel had the wild imagination of any other young child growing up that she still has to this day. In an online interview with Erika-Janea, Rachel expressed, “As a child, I had an epidemic imagination. I still hold onto it fiercely” ( As Erica Rodriguez pointed out in the Victoria Advocate during the ABR Reading Series, “Griffiths' poems - lush and budding with dreamy imagery - tell stories of music, Greek mythology and James Brown explain-ing heaven has Cadillacs.” For most children they get their imagination from television or video games, but not Rachel. Books influenced her imagination, “…books influenced me and I spent much of my childhood befriending books- their worlds, their fears and hopes, their heroes and villains, their beauties and deaths, their secret universal tongue/language” (Girl Education, independence, and hard work were widely encouraged by both of Rachel’s parents and this is clearly shown throughout all of her works. Throughout all of Rachel’s writings and photographs she exposed many different themes, but the main theme is hands. Hands play a prominent role in her poetry, photography, and life.
Many people underestimate the luxury of having hands, we may only consider them as just another body part, or something that connects to the wrist that connects to our fingers and arms. Although this may be true explains the hand as being “the terminal, prehensile part of the upper limb in humans and other primates, consisting of the wrist, metacarpal area, fingers, and thumb.” While talking to Rachel I asked if she had a certain love or fetish for hands and she responded with, “They are very important elements to the body, in my mind, both literally and figuratively.” Hands can be used as a symbol of trust, life, death, and togetherness as Rachel displayed some of these examples in her poem “Hymn to a Hurricane.” Rachel wrote the following lines that both symbolized life and death, “by the help of two trembling hands, that his father, only/ a man not a god, could not save his mother’s life” (35-36) The father wasn’t sure what decision to make at that moment, once his wife let go the decision was clear as a sunny day, “you can’t hold on/ and hold me. For the absence of God as she dropped his hands” (31-32), which indirectly symbolized the chance of death, life, and love which the father held in his hands. The father didn’t want to risk losing his family, but he knew he had to let go of the mother’s hand in order to save his son, resulting in both death and life. Even though the son was you he still “understood” the situation and the indecisive choice his mom made. He knew in order for him to survive he would have to pull himself up, using both of his father’s hands. As this was shown, “For her son who understood, as he climbed onto the roof/ by the help of two trembling hands…” (34-35) The father’s trembling hands symbolized life for the son. The hands are what held the family together and the hands are the simple thing that broke them apart. There is also a poem entitled “Prayer for War” written by Rachel, which makes one think of hands when they hear the word prayer, but the two lines Rachel discuss about hands in this poem contradicts the title. In “Prayer for War” hands symbolize both hurt and pain, “May you rest in peace/upon the charred palms,” (1-2). “May you burn/ your own hands & penises” (13-14).
Although a lot of people may not give the proper credit due to hands and recognize the importance of them, some do. Hands represent a simple yet complex thing. They can be seen as a symbol for working, communication, art, and spirituality. In ways of communicating someone with a hearing impairment may not have the luxury to hear or talk, so their only lines of communicating are sign language which they sign with their hands. While many people