In a bid to capture the "quiet, caring and tender" sides of parenthood, Eoin Carey has created a new series dedicated to dads. As we approach Father's Day, the Glasgow-based photographer has also published a book featuring many of the thoughtful images. We find out more.
Titled Father, the body of work and new book by photographer Eoin Carey features local dads and their everyday routines. There's nothing outlandish about the pictures; we simply see fathers with their children in natural, domestic settings as Eoin captures the intimacy, stress, play and poetry of parenthood. In doing so, the series hopes to overhaul any stereotypes that might prevail around fatherhood as being heroic, incompetent or absent.
The project is inspired by Eoin's own experience of early parenthood as a single dad. Seeing so many fleeting moments of highs and lows, but without a free hand to photograph any of it, he realised how much of parenthood goes undocumented aside from the usual smiles and selfies, and how valuable it might be for fathers and families to have a record of those ordinary, routine moments that are actually quite precious.
As Eoin writes in his book's introduction, "Becoming a father was an intense transition for me and perhaps because of that I have a heightened awareness of the experience of others. In the months that followed, with time distorted, my camera sat dormant in documenting the chaos, loneliness and beauty of that unrepeatable time.
"The ordinance of mess, jolly legs wrapped in a towel, yawning into cold coffee, bottomless laundry, tears on howling red cheeks, dog-eared storybooks, the dark of cold mornings, a trail of half chewed snacks, imaginary friends, sitting on the floor, a shaft of amber sunlight, a tiny hand held, rain against the window, eyelids finally closing. Like a pilgrim with a laden pram and no record of the miles, I watched the sun rise and fall and the days pass irretrievably."
Of his subjects, Eoin is particularly interested in new and young fathers. "I believe there is a transition that men, and secondary carers, pass through in becoming a parent that is somewhat intangible because it does not have the physicality of childbirth," he says. "It is an intimate, intense and beautiful time in a persons life and I want to show the tenderness and stress, play and poetry of parenthood."
He continues: "I believe that parenting is a challenging transition in life that brings people into contact with their most caring and tender selves and I want to capture that essence to make a body of work that reflects on masculinity in modern society."
In the series, we see dads changing nappies, playing in the local park, even practicing ballet at the local village hall. These are moments we don't often see and might be considered plain and ordinary. Yet they are likely to be the things we remember the most.
"Caring for a child is literally that, and the care that must be given as a parent brings us in touch with a gentle, softer, more loving side of ourselves that men don't get opportunities to experience regularly, and may not have experienced before meeting a child," Eoin writes. "It is real and crucial and I want my images to show this sensitivity back to fathers and society at large. To see the importance and validity in children's lives of a father."
Father will be released on Father's Day on 18 June 2023. If you'd like to grab a copy, follow Eoin on Instagram to stay in the loop. In the meantime, check out Eoin's body of work at eoincareyphoto.com.