The Hands that TalkSaturday, July 02, 2016
Between 1954 and 1962 (with a five year period studying in Austin, Texas) I lived in Mexico City and Nueva Rosita, Coahuila. I watched lots of Mexican TV and saw Mexican films, mostly the very funny ones by Mario Moreno “Cantiflas” and a few Mexican westerns with Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete. Without knowing I saw art films by Buñuel because I had the hots for the beautiful Mexican actress Silvia Pinal who appeared in three of his films, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel and Simón del desierto.
I watched the fabulous tenor Pedro Vargas’s program that had a comedian called el Chino Herrera who attempted to act like a Mexican Chinese man. He would pronounce all words with rs as ls.
But there was one comedian who was a fave. His name was José Antonio Hipólito Espino Mora but we all knew him as "Clavillazo, the man who talks with his hands." I watched with delight his hands move as he gesticulated while wearing a bizarre three-cornered hat.
It may have been Clavillazo who taught me to notice hands and to recognize their importance.
One of my daughters was born a swan so the only kind words that came out of my mother’s lips when she first saw her were, “She has beautiful hands.”
My Rosemary has taught me to notice how fingers are placed with hands during my portrait sessions. I notice how classic ballerinas and modern dancers move their hands with grace. I can state here that not only am I a decent portrait photographer but I also know how to photograph hands.
As evidence to that boast I have here two photographs that I took minutes one from the other, the latter one with b+w infrared film, of a beautiful Mexican woman called Ivanova. She had a voluptuous body but I was attracted to her strong hands. I am sure she might have been able to crack a nut with one hand.
Clavillazo on YouTube