Your Hands Tell a Story: The Photos of Kristy Herron | Cherokee, NC

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Your Hands Tell a Story: The Photos of Kristy Herron

When Kristy Herron was a child, she spent a lot of time with her grandmother who would watch her before and after school on most days. 

Remembers Kristy, “I would sit on her lap and look at her hands. They were smooth and soft, but still wrinkly. They were my favorite hands.”

This image of her grandmother’s hands is burned in Kristy’s memory. Today, Kristy is a notable photographer in Cherokee, NC, and while she never took a picture of her grandmother’s hands, she says she can still see them clearly in her head. 

Photo Documenting Hands 

[Photo of Kristy’s daughter, Tyra, with a rivercane basket, 2010]

Because of her grandmother, Kristy started paying attention to other people’s hands, and she started taking pictures of them. When she was in college she snapped a picture of Walker Calhoun making blowgun darts (pictured at top), which remains one of her favorites. 

“After that photo, it became a thing for me,” she says. “I’ve been taking pictures of peoples’ hands for over 15 years now.”

For the past several years, Kristy has shown her photos at Cherokee Voices Festival, an annual event hosted by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, as well as at Cherokee Days through the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. 

For her hand series, Kristy tries to stick with traditional crafts, but she also takes photos of hands in other scenarios that she finds interesting.

Telling the Story in Photos 

[Photo of Louise Goings making a quiver, 2017]

“I think your hands say a lot about you, and what you do with them. I like the ones that have a story to tell. And I try to tell that story in my photos,” says Kristy. 

Through photo editing, she usually makes them sepia-toned for a nostalgic look, although she sometimes shares them in color. 

“I like seeing the different lines, scars, or distinctions that make a persons’ hands unique to them,” she says. 

About Kristy Herron 

Kristy was born and raised on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC. Her family is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and The Navajo Nation. She started exploring her interest in photography in 1998. A few years later, she attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography in 2004. 

Passionate about photography and Cherokee culture, Kristy documents life in and around Cherokee, NC, including gorgeous vistas of the area, Cherokee people, and popular events like the annual 4th of July Powwow.

When she’s not taking photos as part of her personal projects, or for the community in Cherokee, she spends her days with the Communications Department of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as the Creative Resources Administrator. 

You can see more of Kristy’s beautiful work at her website,  

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