Photographer Omar Reda has been making a series of photos on the stories hands tell.

Photographer Omar Reda has been making a series of photos on the stories hands tell.
Omar has travelled around Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nepal and Saudi Arabia to capture these hand portraits. He explains that, ”The hand reveals what’s hidden below the surface.  The palm lines in our hands unveil the underlying truth about our lives.” He is, of course, correct – they do!
Omar is trying to capture the beauty of human hands around the world and from different scopes of life. He photographs people from tribes, villages and cities.
I am going to look at some of Omar’s photographs from his collection Hands that Tell Story, and add some insights from a hand analyst’s perspective.

Three-year-old boy from the Masai Tribe in Africa

This boy has a beautifully long curved Heart/Emotion Line – rare to see in this ‘perfect’ state: smoothly ending between the index and middle fingers. It shows a child very in touch with his feelings; he can easily express himself emotionally and will healthily release any emotions as they come up.


This gardener has a short, bent Index Finger. It shows a lack of self-belief and confidence. He has a huge thumb ball showinggreat energy and stamina, and a very short Head Line showing someone who lives in the moment and who focuses on their immediate environment.


This mechanic has a long Little Finger, showing good communication skills, someone with depth and a deeper insight into things. The end of the Head Line flicks up toward the Little Finger, showing an ability to think and see things objectively. This mechanic also has fine vertical lines under the Little Finger, sometimes known as the ‘medical stigmata’. This is found on healers, carers and therapists. There is certainly a side to this man, shown in his hand, that his job title doesn’t indicate.

Female farmer

This lady has a weak Life Line, which is not as clear and strong as her Heart and Head Lines. This shows a lack of stability and definitely indicates a sense of not feeling grounded. This is unusual to find on someone who works on the land in a rhythmical way (which would help ground someone). Her lack of Longitudinal crease/Fate Line shows an innate lack of purpose. These feelings will not be easy for her to express as she has a low set Heart Line and short Little Finger.

Elderly tribal woman

Look at this person’s bulging hypothenar eminence! This is the mound at the bottom of the hand opposite the thumb ball, outside of the Life Line. A pronounced bulge here shows a powerful intuition, creativity, imagination and an interest in things esoteric or psychological. This woman also has a second Head Line, which will intensify the mind. This is a deep intuitive thinker – a hand suited to a Shaman. Perhaps she is the medicine lady of the village as well?

A Baker

This is our first technical hand – an Air Hand, with its square palm and long fingers. He is a logical, analytical thinker – always looking to refine and develop his skills and likely to be a specialist in his field. He needs to be careful not to overdo things at work though as his Fate Line is supporting the base of the Life Line – a sign of someone overdoing it in the office!

Local holy man

What a long Head Line! Compare this to the gardener and farmer earlier. Here is someone who thinks about the bigger issues in life. Look at the line coming diagonally up the hypothenar eminence (bottom outside edge) – this shows a person firmly on their life path- not restricted or tied to what their parents or society might think. This man would be wise to take a bit more care of his body though: the base of the fingers have many fine lines showing physical depletion. In the close up we can see the skin ridge patterns are dappled and breaking up – an early indicator of an immune issue.


Here is a blacksmith with a will of steel! His thumb is enormous. This is the digit of self-mastery, determination and willpower. He has an Earth Hand shape, so will be a no-nonsense type, and hard working. This combination means if he sets his sights on something he will get it. Nothing is going to stand in his way!


This is quite a confident man – his thumb is held widely out, showing independence. There are a few signs of stress and anger however, with the lines on the thumb ball that also cut across the Life Line. The Head Line is curved – the first like this we have seen. It shows an imaginative, abstract and sometimes introverted thinker. This man must be careful not to get ‘stuck in his own head’; he needs to find ways to level out, see things clearly, and not become too absorbed with his own frustrations.

A Soldier

This is a clear hand of a soldier: physical and enduring, the Earth elemental shape; active and stimulation-seeking, with Fire elemental lines. Look at the bulge on the outside edge of the hand – this is the Mars area. When enlarged like this it shows extra fight, determination and, with this type of hand, sheer force of will. He is a deep thinker – shown in his very long Head Line. The area of relationships would be what I would discuss with him: notice the small base phalanx of the Little Finger. This shows potential issues around intimacy and communication with a partner.

A girl from a tribal village

This is a creative and emotional hand. Its narrow palm makes this girl sensitive and affected by her environment and the people around her. Herlong fingers put her in the world of analysis and feelings. She has coarse skin and clear ridges – she is a physical type. She would be a wonderful jewellery maker or dancer.

All images by Omar Reda.

For more of Omar Reda’s photos, visit his website