Evolution of meaning of handshaking

Handshake of
Harry Truman
Winston Churchill
Joseph Stalin

Text Anastasia Davydova Lewis
Collages Patrick Waugh

In 1945, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin all met at the Potsdam Conference, united in their goal to restructure a post-Nazi Europe. There is a photograph dated at July 17th, where the three stand together for a photo-op. Even though Churchill believed Stalin to be a devil-like tyrant leading a vile system, while Truman delayed the Conference to ensure the functionality of his then secret nuclear weapons, the three stand in the photo smiling, Truman linking Churchill and Stalin, the shutter stopping the moment of him glancing from right to left with the glee of a child who can’t quite get the hang of the Swan Lake cygnet huddle. The photo revives memories of weathered geography textbook covers, adorned with illustrations of the world population all holding hands together, unified in a global joy. This was the only time the three leaders met together in person, and perhaps the only time they were able to experience “global joy” together. The photographic document now illustrates countless discussions of WWII aftermath – reports as weathered as old geography textbooks.


※This essay is an excerpt from PARTNERS Issue #1