A Tiny Step for Hands, A Giant Leap for Man
Zach Vitale didn’t set out to become a meme creator. And even if he had, it’s unlikely he could have predicted that meme would involve hundreds of tiny hands. He was your average photography grad, working at a Boston studio and spending his days retouching waify models for an online retail site. But he often found himself bored and unoccupied when his coworkers would go out to smoke without him.
So he gave himself a project: make one of the model’s hands tiny while they were gone. Have a good laugh. Get back to work. Repeat. Three years later — and with a hand from James Weinberg and Bob O’Connor — One Tiny Hand was born, shrinking palms on everyone from Miss Piggy to Jay-Z.
What’s the strangest thing about making tiny hands?
Everyone’s hands seem huge now! It’s like the whole world is walking around with catcher’s mitts on.
What do you think people love about tiny hands?
It’s funny … I don’t really know what it is about tiny hands that I love, either. Maybe it’s that they’re so strangely random. They make us look a little harder at things we’re familiar with and question their truth. And there’s a wonderful moment that lies right between being uncomfortable and laughing out loud that we try to achieve with the tiny hands. I really like it when you don’t know whether to be amused, confused, or horrified.
What’s your most favorite celebrity tiny hand?
Kate Middleton. It’s this beautiful photograph, by Mario Testino, and then there’s this wrist cankle resting on Prince William’s arm.
If you weren’t tiny-handing, what would you be doing?
Well I really wanted to be an astronaut, but I can’t even tie my shoes (seriously), so that wasn’t happening.
And so you made us astronauts with tiny hands!
Yep. These are original photographs from the NASA Archives. We were intrigued by the era that these photos represent — this kind of mid-century vision of the idealized future. You know, back in the 1950s, we had this idea that robots could make you dinner, cars could fly … it was like the Jetsons in real life. Somewhere along the way we stopped dreaming the way we used to, but these pictures take us back to that place, and we want everyone to come along for the ride.
What do you tell your friends about your tiny-handing hobbies?
We’re three pretty normal guys who happen to have one not-so-normal website.
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