Delirium Tremens
Undone
Retirement
Amen
Vanishing Stones

If, as Orwell said, everyone gets the face they deserve at fifty, then what could be said of the hands? Can they signify too many days spent in luxury, made clear by their swanny softness and unlined appearance? Does a life of dissolution tell in the flesh by the etches and scores? What of a melancholy existence? Must the fingers be enlaced in a bouquet of prayer?

How often have you marveled at the articulation of your digits? Hands are an expression of our natural beauty. Our hands could create cathedrals or wreak ruin, cradle the cup of destiny, receive God in the form of a wafer, or ward off the devil by the forking of fingers. Hands attenuate the power of oblivion, exercised in the integrity of movement, or frozen forever by the sculptor’s craftsmanship.

In Abraham Rojas’s photography, the dignity of human existence is blazed in the flesh. No matter if life is a blind maze or pure blood and iron, the hands, to Rojas’s unalloyed eye, are enduring artifacts, a vitreous sweep of flesh descending from canyon darkness. Whether bent at work drawing a cratered moon, or arrested with a journeyman’s hammer as blunt and solid as a pigeonspike, Rojas’s gaunt and withy hands capture our attention.

Then there is the image of chapel women staring intently into leaning flames. We are forced to pause: What blast has crossed the room? What sorrows and disappointments furrow the eyes of these women? The tragedy of the past is implicit: the Sun God of the Incas has been reduced to mere teardrops of energy, dancing upon the heads of tallow sticks. A Catholic paradise awaits in those stony uplands, but only after a lifetime of knee tributes, and bent-back submission to earthly horror.

See the plane of water sweeping to the horizon, the razorback rock, the blank Beckettian sky: What is beneath the silver serenity? The surface is so gracefully rendered that all that is missing are the dapping tracks left by the soft amble of a lily-trotter. We watch with stilled breath, so as not to disturb the placid waters.

There is a quiet power at work in these impressive images, and a depth that has no true bottom. While it is true that kings indeed have very long hands, the hands of the artist, in conjunction with the eye and the heart, casts further, and deeper.

Abraham Rojas is a Peruvian photographer currently residing in West Hartford, Connecticut. His first encounter with the art world was through literature and creative writing, specifically poetry. He studied Literature at San Marcos University in Lima, Peru and photography at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, Connecticut. Mr. Rojas is the recipient of an Award of Excellence as a finalist in two different Photographer’s FORUM Magazine’s contests, Best of Photography 2014, and the 35th Annual College & High School Photography Contest. He is currently a freshman in the Photography Department at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.

Edwin Rivera is a Writing Instructor at SVA and Editor of The Match Factory.