The HANDS Project

by Marc Mennigmann


About the HANDS Project

« The story of music through the story of the hands that make it »

When a photographer takes a portrait of a musician, he most likely pictures the face or the musician with his instrument. “HANDS” is going another way. I picture the part of the musician that has a significant part in making the tone, playing the note, or initiating the sound – his hands.

Project Goals

1. Print A Book

My current plan is to release a book with a huge selection of pictures. This is only an idea yet, as I am quite busy with acquiring, shooting, retouching, printing, and all the stuff related to the exhibitions. Stay tuned for the HANDS Book!

By the way, the photo shows Chuck Rainey and me. I was explaining my concept using a very early prototype of the HANDS book.

2. Prints & Exhibitions

I am always working on large printed versions (35″ x 20″) of selected hands that are exposed in galleries and music related places like jazz clubs and concert venues.

The collection of prints is currently more than 40 pictures, most with an accompanying live shot. If you are interested to expose them in your location please contact me.

For some high-res examples of the HANDS pictures, please visit the gallery.

3. Grow The Archive

The list of participating musicians is already way beyond 200. I am constantly looking for concerts that I like to visit, meet the artists and shoot their hands. So when you are out there on the road, close to my location, you might get a mail soon…

For a complete list of the participating artists please visit this page.

Carla Bley's HANDS

Upcoming Exhibitions

Familienbildungsstätte Gronau

date: when all is good again

There is a lot of space on the walls of the Familienbildungsstätte Gronau. We are planning a nice exhibition here plus a vernissage and concert. Stay tuned for more details.

Your place here?

someday in the future

Do you have a nice club, theatre, bar with frequent live music? Do you want to hang some HANDS on your walls? Let me know, maybe we can deal something out.

Leverkusener Jazztage

Nov. 2018

This is going to be huge. More details will follow, but a lot of HANDS will be exposed at the 39th Leverkusener Jazztage in November 2019.
Stay tuned for more details.

Past Exhibitions

Kloster Bentlage, Rheine

June 7 – Sept. 4, 2019

The Kloster Bentlage is a beautiful place for concerts, exhibitions and creativity. I’m really looking forward to show 40 or more of my pictures at this beautiful place.
Vernissage will be on June 07, 2019, allowing the exhibition to be seen by visitors of the “Jazzfestival Rheine” that will be held on the following weekend.

Theater am Wall, Warendorf - Part II

March 8 – June, 2019

After the great success of the first part of this exhibition from Oct 2018 to March 2019, we decided to start a second exhibition right away. We will just take the pictures from the first exhibition off the walls and replace them with a new set.
On March 8, 2019 there will be the “Vernissage #2” at the Theater am Wall.

21. Jazzfestival TU Dortmund

Jan. 21, 2017

40 large scale prints and a lot of accompanying stage shots will be exposed at the Jazzfestival of the TU Dortmund, Germany.

Theater am Wall, Warendorf - Part I

Oct. 11, 2018, to March 8, 2019

The Theater am Wall is known for its fine series of nice jazz concerts. On Oct. 11 there will be a vernissage at 6:30 pm, followed by a concert. 


May to June 2016

The first official HANDS exhibition. Over 30 large scale prints were exposed in a Rock’s’Roll bar in Lünen, Germany from May to June 2016.

SUPER Coffee, Lagos

July to September 2016

The pictures were exposed in a nice shop for coffee, food, art and handmade products at the wonderful Algarve in Portugal from July to September 2016.

Artist Comments

Carla and I agree – the photos are wonderful! Thanks for including us.

Steve Swallow


Congratulations on your beautiful work!

Jon Gomm


Amazing!!! That came out great. I think it says it all!!

Rex Brown


This is beautiful!! And BRILLIANT! Our hands say so much about us. So honored to be featured with some of my favorites and bass idols!

Nik West


Thank you Marc for bringing all these epic hands together .. Honoured to be part of this beautiful project.

Tanya O’Callaghan


Ein sehr beeindruckendes Projekt.

Ufo Walter


My compliments on your aesthetic visioning book project. I am honored to be part of it.

Really excellent photography, Marc. Bravo.

Peter Erskine


The story of our music through the stories in our hands. Grateful to be a part of it!

Steve Lawson


Love this. So great to be in the company of so many great musicians. Thanx Marc. This project is such a remarkable one!

Divinity Roxx


This is a beautiful project and it could not be in better HANDS.

Sari Schorr


The idea, in itself, might seem simple. These pictures, however, reveal a truly unique look at our last pitstop in human appendixes before bodily motions take over to vibrating strings, hitting drums, creating music, and, every once in a while, hopefully making some magic. HANDS is not only a fascinating study in human anatomy but also a captivating look of the relationship we have with our instruments. Every wrinkle on every hand tells a different story.
Jaan Wessmann


T-Shirts Available

The most iconic HANDS photo as artwork on a Classic Jersey T-Shirt made from 100% Combed Organic Cotton. The front side shows the hands of Bakithi Kumalo and Ana Orias Balderas. Backside shows the hands motto. Men’s M, L, XL and woman’s S, M, L available.

The incredibly marvellous

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HANDS Project Newsletter.

HANDS Mailing List

Join the HANDS mailing list to receive the latest news and updates of this project.

Maximum 2 emails per month, not more. Promised…!

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About The Photographer

Marc Mennigmann

Marc Mennigmann

Photographer, Musician, Entrepreneur, whatever...

Marc Mennigmann worked as a session musician for piano and Chapman Stick in the 1990s and founded two companies which both still exist.

He started photography in the new millennium using medium format film and a Lomo camera, switching to digital years later.

Currently, his main interest is taking portraits and shooting musicians on and behind the stage.

You can contact Marc on this page.

You still want more?


Here you can see some high-res versions of the HANDS pictures.


A complete list of the artists already participating the HANDS project.

Making Of

Some infos about how the HANDS pictures are made, and a ton of making-of pictures.


News related to this project. Never miss any new artists added.

Do you want to put some HANDS on your walls?

I am happy to announce that a collection of HANDS is now available as gallery grade prints on aluminium-dibond. Please jump over to my friends from Two Hands Media and have a look.


I met Joerg Steineck, who is the man behind the INSIDE SCOFIELD documentary, when taking pictures of Johns HANDS at the Jazzclub in Münster. He filmed the process of my personal documentary of the hands of musicians, and I am happy to support his project, a...

The new HANDS poster – huge gallery prints available!

I made a few prints of this HANDS poster with a new selection of musicians. The print is gallery grade on 280g paper at the size of 841 × 1189 mm (33.1 × 46.8 inches). The price is EUR 149,- plus shipping. Sofa not included. 😉 You can order your copy in my BandCamp...

So similar but so different! “AIR musicians” by Hajo Müller

Hajo Müller, a photographer friend of mine, started a new project a while ago called "AIR musicians". His idea is basically to let professional musicians play their instrument, but without the instrument, similar to the air guitar contests. This implies a considerable...

Kloster Bentlage – Pictures of an exhibition

The HANDS prints are perfectly exposed on the walls of the Kloster Bentlage near Rheine in Germany. A big thank you to the staff there for their great support and efforts to make this look so good. The exhibition will be there until August 4, 2019.