In 'Portraits of My Father,' Antoine Didienne examines parenting, masculinity and love …

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Two years in the past, Antoine Didienne had an concept: look at fatherhood by means of his lens. Literally.

So in November of 2019, the photographer launched into a private mission he’s calling “Portraits of My Father.”

“The project is an introspection of my own relationship with my father compared to what my relationship is like with my own children today,” the La Mesa resident stated. “In an effort to examine and analyze the concepts of fatherhood, masculinity, love and parenting, I have photographed 50 different fathers representing multiple cultural, racial and gender associations to represent the widest breadth of fathers as possible.”

Didienne took a while to speak about his mission.

"Benjamin," by Antoine Didienne

“Benjamin,” by Antoine Didienne

(Courtesy of Antoine Didienne)

Q: What was the inspiration behind this mission?

A: I had been searching for a while to offer extra which means to my images and was itching to stretch my storytelling abilities on a extra long-form mission. I actually needed to do one thing that was each very private and really relatable on a grander scale. After beginning and abandoning a pair different tasks that simply didn’t really feel proper, I made a decision on exploring my very own emotions on the subject of fatherhood. It appeared an apparent alternative as a result of I used to be a stay-at-home dad for each of my daughters and my expertise of fatherhood couldn’t have been extra totally different than my dad’s expertise only a era in the past. I may really feel the which means of the phrase evolving and easily needed to discover that and discuss masculinity, parenting and love another way.

Q: Your topics paint fairly a various image of fatherhood — was variety initially in your thoughts if you began this mission?

A: Absolutely. It was essential to me that the mission be as various as attainable and present as many tales of fatherhood as attainable. I needed variety in the kind of folks in addition to within the particular person experiences and tales of fatherhood I used to be going to {photograph}. I needed to shoot White, Brown and Black tales of fatherhood, dads and/or youngsters with disabilities, totally different sexual orientations, and so on. How may I painting trendy fatherhood with out together with as many varieties of folks as I may?

"John," by Antoine Didienne

“John,” by Antoine Didienne

(Courtesy of Antoine Didienne)

Q: What was essentially the most difficult a part of this mission?

A: When I conceptualized the mission, I set myself a lofty objective of fifty fathers. I knew that I’d solely be scratching the floor with this quantity, however I knew that this was a really long-term mission. This took me 2 1/2 years to {photograph}, however I may inform that motivation and perseverance was going to be the actual check for me in finishing this mission. I needed to consider wholeheartedly within the idea, aesthetics and validity of the mission with out figuring out if the work was going to resonate in any respect with an viewers. I had not accomplished something like this earlier than. Another half that was difficult was to offer this mission a title. It took me most of my first 12 months of taking pictures to truly choose “Portraits of My Father.”

Q: The most rewarding?

A: The most rewarding a part of this mission was to have the ability to give these pictures to over 50 fathers. I discovered immense pleasure in with the ability to do that for strangers. Fathers don’t are likely to schedule a photoshoot only for themselves and their youngsters, and but figuring out that these pictures would truly maintain an vital half of their tales was empowering for me as a storyteller and an artist. And I received to create artwork about one thing that mattered to me.

Q: What’s subsequent for you — is there a motherhood mission within the offing?

A: I don’t know if I’m the best individual to speak about motherhood, however given the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, there could be loads to speak about certainly. I’ve my coronary heart set on a few concepts. I’d like to work with the blind group for one, as they’re typically forgotten from the remainder of society, and I’d additionally prefer to work with the transgender group in San Diego on a separate mission. As inclusive as I needed to be in “Portraits of My Father,” discovering a transgender father has been unsuccessful up to now. I’ve had the privilege of making friendships with members of the group, and telling their tales feels extra vital than ever.

For extra on this mission, go to antoinedidiennephoto.com

"Joko," by Antoine Didienne

“Joko,” by Antoine Didienne

(Courtesy of Antoine Didienne)


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