Where I've Come From | Work in Progress Part 1

The last time I wrote about my master's project, I was still photographing strangers on the street, but the project has progressed greatly over the last 10 months! 

About halfway through the first module I changed my methodology and began photographing families in their homes or places that were unique to them. The project changed drastically as I was able to create better imagery and stories through being with these fathers. I also interviewed the dads and learned much about fatherhood. These are some of the images I captured in the second term, along with some of the interview from each one:

 “The advice I’d give to another father is summed up in one word: Savor. Many families wish their kids were certain ages, but the reality is that every age is important. We should take the time and savor every moment with our kids.”  -Chris

“The advice I’d give to another father is summed up in one word: Savor. Many families wish their kids were certain ages, but the reality is that every age is important. We should take the time and savor every moment with our kids.”

-Chris

 “For me fatherhood is about intentional involvement. Caring for my children and having fun is great, but developing and inspiring character growth is essential. Traits like compassion need to be modeled and discipled.”   -Esteban

“For me fatherhood is about intentional involvement. Caring for my children and having fun is great, but developing and inspiring character growth is essential. Traits like compassion need to be modeled and discipled.” 

-Esteban

 “Watching Riley thrive in Tae Kwon Doe was amazing, because it was something he truly excelled in. It’s encouraging to see your kid grow up and do something he’s good at. Seeing him come in first place in events made me truly proud.”  -David

“Watching Riley thrive in Tae Kwon Doe was amazing, because it was something he truly excelled in. It’s encouraging to see your kid grow up and do something he’s good at. Seeing him come in first place in events made me truly proud.”

-David

 “Fatherhood is better, harder, and funnier than I ever expected it would be. You hear things before you have kids, similar to before you get married, about the difficulties and good things, but you don’t realize any of it until you have kids yourself.”  -Sage

“Fatherhood is better, harder, and funnier than I ever expected it would be. You hear things before you have kids, similar to before you get married, about the difficulties and good things, but you don’t realize any of it until you have kids yourself.”

-Sage

What I realized the most in this process was that each father had a unique relationship with their child or children and they each expressed that differently. This was a great finding and it was fun to begin the discovery process of how to photograph each family uniquely according to their lives. I loved coupling the text with the images as I thought it brought these stories to life--these are real dads with real kids. Hearing from them and learning from them is invaluable.

I also felt I was getting closer to creating more intimate imagery--you can tell a stark difference from these strangers I was photographing versus these images of fathers who I spent time with. The time factor I think really makes a difference--time is needed when getting images that hold deeper messages than just a snapshot off the street. Some people can make this work, don't get me wrong (I'm inspired greatly by them as well), but considering my values and how I operate in my practice as a photographer, I had to change up how I was working to accomplish more meaningful images. I think knowing this about myself is key moving forward.

At the end of the second term I knew I wanted to head in this direction, holding mini-shoots, photographing fathers and interviewing them about their lives. I'm glad to say that it has progressed wonderfully and I think I'm finding what works for this project.

I'll share in part two of my work in progress what I accomplished the next term (I'll hold you in suspense!). :)

-Ashley