Friday, May 16, 2014

Exhibition Announcement: Mark Kitaoka's "29 Hands - 15 Artists"

"29 Hands - 15 Artists"
15 Black and White Large Format Photographs
By Mark Kitaoka
Editor John Orr

When I was a young boy, my father instilled in me a very important lesson. "Son, the true measure of people can be seen through their behavior rather than their words. Behavior that backs up their words is the true measure of what they say. Watch what people do, that will tell you much more than what they say."

I've followed his sage advice my entire life and judged my own words against my own behavior. So much of what we "do" is done through our hands. Building, writing, defending ourselves, creating what begins in our minds, caring for those we love, are all accomplished with our hands.

The genesis of "29 Hands — 15 Artists" began during an Open Studios session at the Peninsula Museum of Art (PMA). As I watched the artists work, I thought "Wow this is a perfect place to photograph the hands of working artists." I opted to photograph each artist as they worked or performed.  

Name: Steve Brugge
Artistic discipline: Poet
Date Taken: August 2013
Steve is the reason the title of the show is 29 rather than 30 hands. He lost his primary hand in an
industrial accident and had to relearn how to use his left hand. After much personal turmoil, he found
solace in the art of poetry. I wanted natural light for his shot, so we created this image in his backyard
just under the stippling of his patio awning. I lit him with fill light using a simple Speedlite housed in a
SaberStrip modifier. He is writing about his experience being photographed for this project.

Name: Kris Yenney
Artistic discipline: Cellist
Date Taken: August 2013
I met Kris back in 2008 during a theatrical performance. I often like to wander over to the orchestra pit
in an attempt to shoot some of the musicians. As I peered down into the pit, I was motivated to take
some shots of her beautiful hands as she played the cello, one of my all-time favorite instruments. We
began a strong friendship after that moment. For this shot I wanted an ethereal look for Kris, to match
the sounds that emanate from her instrument. Using a studio strobe with a cone reflector and 10-
degree grid from above seemed like the perfect lighting. I also added haze to the air to further enhance
the ethereal feeling I was seeking. If you're attending my opening, she is the one playing in the lobby.

Name: Charles Branklyn
Artistic discipline: Stage Actor
Date Taken: May 2012
Charles and I met during the production of TheatreWork's "Radio Golf." His character portrayal was one
that exhibited complete and utter mastery of acting. During one of the scenes he grasps a fedora to his
chest and at that moment I noticed his utterly exquisite hands. It's not often I envy someone's hands,
but his are truly the exception.

Name: Rob Browne
Artistic discipline: Sculptor
Date Taken: August 2013
PMA Alum Rob and I have known each other for some time. He and I collaborated on a sculpture he did
from one of my photographs of Bianca Sappeto, a Cirque Silk Aerialist. Since Rob was not working on any
projects on the day I shot him, I simply had him cover his mouth for the shot. Like most artists he has
remarkable hands, which is evident in his shot. Because I wanted this to be a dramatic portrait, I shot
him with my little Fuji X100 to kill all ambient light in his studio while using a simple Speedlite.

Peninsula Museum of Art, North Gallery, 1777 California Drive, Burlingame
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, May 18 to July 20 
Admission: Free
Information:; Phone: 650-692-2101
Artist website: