Documenting fatherhood in times of crisis

Times of crisis should be documented, from many perspectives.

Being a parent is an amazing experience but let’s be real — it’s hard. Some days you feel like a king, other days you might question your manhood and most days it’s both.

It’s OK though, we all go through the emotions but being an effective father in times of crisis is a damn meatgrinder. As photographers, it’s impossible to shut off our ability to see. What doesn’t kill you will make you a stronger photographer if you capture it. Here are some ways to document fatherhood in times of crisis.

Honesty is the best policy

Sadly, the world has become a place populated mostly by sleepwalkers. These people who believe the BS influencer, celebrity culture, live a life of lies they tell themselves until it’s so burned in their minds, only experiencing a major crisis will they shed their facade.

Throughout the day, we all become detached but as photographers, we understand the importance of being present. It’s that feeling of being in the zone, being fully alive that we’re in touch with our true selves and that’s what makes the world’s best photos.

A crisis can bring blessings such as waking up from a sleepwalking state. Want to experience being fully present? Take a cold shower at 5 a.m.! When that cold water hits your body you will be alive with a mindfully focused on how damn cold the water is.

Be real, be honest in your photography and minimize retouching (if at all), post-processing, or posing. Just get the shot and get back to life.

Always be ready

crisis - pushing stroller

Every time I lead a photowalk, there are always people that miss photos because they’re messing with their gear. If you are not able to shoot fast in manual mode use auto. Don’t bury your camera in a bag or mess with lens caps, flashes or anything else you have to put your hands before you take the shot.

Get over yourself and selfie

crisis - pandemic mask image

If you’re like me, no one is taking your photo so you’ll have to do it yourself. Don’t forget, you are an important part of the story here so put yourself in it. Documenting your experience in fatherhood is not about making yourself look awesome — you already are for being a good dad.

At some point, the crisis will end or it won’t and you’ll be forced to adjust. Either way, a selfie is your historical document marking this moment in time.

Involve your family

crisis black lives matter signs

As much as I love being a father, time to myself is important for my mental health. On the weekends, I take a half day to myself to recharge while my wife takes our son out for some time together. I won’t be there so any content she captures that documents that time I get a copy of.

Remember what matters

Being a quality father takes a lot of work in every way but as you know it’s part of the deal. There’s no stopping time and eventually, kiddos become adults. People matter most so document with respect to the people you love. Spend less time behind the screen and more time with those you love most. It’s a balance so communicate to your family and be open to their requests to put the gear down.