I just knew when I saw the cover of Real by Shelley Malcolm and Terilee Dawn Ouimette that I wanted to read it. The photo made me immediately just stop. I thought of my ninety six year old grandmother's hands - holding them and feeling the paper thin skin and the delicate bones. But also the strength, the love and the life that those hands had experienced and the caring she imparted to those whose lives she touched.
I often find myself at work in the library looking at patron's hands as they pass their books across the counter to me to be checked out. I'm sure they hold the key to a world of stories.
Shelley Malcolm had the idea that " a deep beauty exists in the honest stories our hands have to tell. "Whatever their weathering, in their tenderness, their task, their injury or age, there is a beauty." When she approached Terilee about taking the photos for the project, Terilee was excited - "I wanted my images to inspire people to love, live, feel and appreciate the unique that is often mistaken for the ordinary. For me, hands have always told the story of how amazingly different our lives are."
Each picture of hands is accompanied by a story written by Shelley letting us know a bit more about the subjects' lives, hopes, dreams and anything else they cared to share.
I found myself reading Real in small bits. First I would look at each photograph and absorb the unspoken story, then read the accompanying words. There are various 'chapters' - courage , hope, work, dreams etc, but each and every one of the sixty stories had a message. I found the stories of hope and perserverance the most moving for me. People from every walk and stage of life are represented. I found myself wishing I could meet with some of them to carry on the conversations.
Real is a unique project and a truly moving, inspirational and poignant book. Take a look at your own hands - what story would they tell?
Proceeds from the sale of Real go to various charities. Find out what others on the tour thought.