When my daughter Alice Bee was born in 2010, I knew that I wanted to document her life creatively and put together a collection of photos that she would treasure as an adult; however, I truly had no idea that this ongoing photo project would develop quite the way it has. When I first started posting photos of Alice Bee to Facebook, my intent was primarily to entertain my family and friends, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response that these photos have generated in many countries around the globe.
The first World's Best Father image I shot was initially intended as a one-off. I wanted to capture the dazed, sleep-deprived obliviousness of the new father, while at the same time gently poking fun at myself and new fathers everywhere. I knew I wanted to portray the new father absent-mindedly using the baby's bottle of milk for his own coffee while holding the baby like a football. Right before staging the shot, inspiration hit and I decided that the shot might be stronger if the coffee mug said something like "father of the year" or some similar superlative so I purchased the mug that has since made an appearance in all 56 (and counting) images in this photo series.
After receiving a lot of positive feedback on the first World's Best Father image, I decided (four months later) to shoot another image featuring the clueless dad, the mug, and the baby in an obviously unsafe situation. Independence Day provided the perfect theme for this shoot --what could be more unsafe than a baby with a lit match next to a pile of fireworks?
The 4th of July image is the one that really got the WBF series off and running, and provides the template for the vast majority of images in this series--multiple shots taken on a tripod and merged in Photoshop to create a (hopefully) realistic and humorous portrait of an act of parenting that is dangerous, neglectful, or just plain wrong.
The character I portray in this series is intended to be a parody of the father I hope I never become--distracted, self-absorbed, neglectful, clueless, or even occasionally overbearing.
I've always used humor as a way to deal with my personal fears and neuroses, and in many way these images are often an attempt to do just that--to illustrate humorously the fears that I and, as I've learned, many other new fathers have about fatherhood.
My wife Jen has been a wonderful partner in helping create most of these images. While rarely appearing in the final shot, she has constantly been there behind the scenes to help ensure that Alice Bee is always safe and happy, and to provide inspiration and editorial help. And even while stationed overseas, she still is able to provide insight and assistance with image selection via google hangout.
After much prompting from several ardent fans of the WBF photo series, I published a small-run calendar for 2012 and sold almost every one--more than enough to make back my initial investment. For 2013, I'd like to be able to do a slightly larger run as the fan base of these images has grown since last year and I want to make sure that everyone who wants a calendar this year will be able to purchase one.
Thank you for your consideration, and please take a second to "like" our Facebook page if you'd like to see future images as Alice Bee and I get into even more trouble in the coming years. :)
- (24 days)