Gay Dads and Their Kids: A Photo Exhibition
I began this project in 1999 when I saw an announcement in a newspaper about a meeting for Gay Fathers of Greater Boston. At that time I realized I had never seen a photograph of an openly gay father and his child(ren). I also imagined that there must be a high level of commitment from the father to actively seek out ways to create the best possible relationship with his child, even in the face of possible prejudice and negativity from the community at large. Most of the Dads I photographed at that time had children from previous marriages. Just one couple had used a surrogate mother for their children.
Ten years have passed, and the landscape has changed dramatically. Now that gay couples are free to marry, many are making the choice to become parents, often through adoption or surrogacy. The makeup of these families is exciting. Parents may be single, married, or committed. Kids have been adopted from Third World countries, or have been lovingly planned with a surrogate parent. These Dads have entered into a lifelong commitment that a short time ago would have been impossible.
When photographing gay dads and their kids I found virtually no difference from any of my family photo shoots. When kids are young, I just follow them around until they get used to me. If I'm lucky, everyone comes together in one place for at least a few frames. It gives me great joy to witness the love and warm connection in these families.
My style has changed as well in the last 10 years. I originally photographed my projects in black and white, but now I have introduced color into my work. My approach has become more candid, partially due to the young age of many of the kids. The sessions are wild and fun, with some contemplative moments. Just like life!