This series is part of the first phase of a new body of work photographing fathers in care of their children in Glasgow.
I wanted to make a project about fathers that focuses on the tender and tired routines of everyday parenting. Society’s attitude towards childcare has changed enormously in a generation. We can see this in streets, playparks and homes as dads share the care of children much more. I still felt that stereotypes of fathers remain as either heroes, incompetent or simply absent. I wanted to make a body of work that documents fathers’ time with their children that gets away from stereotypes and instead shows a nuanced routine familiar to many. One that is exhausting, mundane and stressful but also very beautiful, intimate and rich.
I believe that becoming a parent is an enormous life transition. I am really interested in this transition for fathers and secondary carers who do not go through a biological process and what it means for them. Motherhood is a concept that I feel is more nuanced and much more developed artistically so I wanted to put fathers in the frame in a more relateable and realistic way.
One stereotype that does prevail around fathers, and men in general, is silence. In my experience and others I have met, early parenthood can be a very lonely experience for dads. I wanted to use the project to approach this and create pictures that could represent and express the complexity and emotion of parenting for men. Caring for a child is literally that, and the care that must be given as a parent can bring us in touch with a gentle, softer, loving part of ourselves that men don’t necessarily get opportunities to experience regularly. This is an incredibly important part of ourselves and I want the images to show this part of parenting back to fathers and society at large to show the importance and validity of what they do.
Despite the diversity in family situations, fatherhood is a very shared experience and I wanted to create a body of work that would start a conversation about the deeper levels of this experience.