Happy Father’s Day from Adobe Stock
To celebrate Father’s Day and honor all the dads around the world, we asked our contributors to share their approach to photographing dads and the important lessons they learned from their own fathers.
A lesson in patience
As children, we look to our fathers as role models. Lifestyle photographer Leslie Kershaw says that while her dad wasn’t much of an advice giver, he always led by example. She learned her appreciation for patience from her father. “He does everything slowly and deliberately (my mom would say too slow!),” she says. “He thinks about what he wants to say and makes sure it perfectly represents him, always with a calm and soothing demeanor.” Leslie has adopted this approach for her photography: “I’ve been telling myself to slow down and ask myself questions about the shot that I’m taking. I want the images to be more deliberate and thoughtful, and that philosophy reminds me of how my father walks through life.”
Photographing her own husband and children has been one of Leslie’s highlights as a photographer, and the experience has given her deeper insights into documenting fatherhood. She encourages fathers and children to be active in her shoots, rather than posing statically. The models feel more comfortable, which results in more authentic images — not to mention a more enjoyable experience for her subjects.
Catalysts for change
Nicole and Gerald Carter, founders of Diversity Photos, became parents for the first time last year, and their mission to bring more diversity into the stock marketplace has become more important than ever. “Seeing your identity represented creates a sense of belonging. Positive and accurate representation means a child can grow up truly knowing their features are beautiful,” says Gerald. By creating positive representations of people of all shapes, backgrounds, and ages, Diversity Photos aims to inspire the next generation to envision that successful future for themselves.
Gerald believes that in today’s age of connectivity, children are quickly learning that there are more things that connect us than divide us. As he and Nicole are both avid travelers, he hopes to expose their son to diverse cultures and perspectives so he can grow up appreciating and valuing our differences.
Scandinavian agency Maskot Images shares the same vision of fostering inclusivity in the media through their stock collections. “A family can come in so many shapes but are not always being portrayed in communication,” says Per Levander, owner and managing director. Per believes that as an image producer, Maskot can have a meaningful impact on the industry and ultimately make people feel more included.
In addition to embracing diverse families, Maskot also champions a wider spectrum of the male experience. “There are much more variety in what a father or man can be today,” says Per, and Maskot does not shy away from depicting the softer side of fatherhood.
Seattle-based photographer Carrie Yuan has also noticed this expanding portrayal of fathers and men in stock imagery: “It’s more common to see men portrayed in roles that were traditionally classified as maternal or domestic — men cooking, cleaning, and doing hands-on tasks with their children like feeding or changing diapers.” Challenging gender norms is a personal challenge for Carrie, and her long-term project “21st Century Dad” chronicles her own husband taking on stereotypically feminine tasks around the home.
For her exclusive collection for Adobe Stock, Carrie photographed real parents welcoming their newborn babies into their lives. Her images reveal the tender moments experienced by mothers, fathers, and families. When photographing families, Carrie focuses on capturing not just the affection and love, but also the joy and humor of the parenting experience.
Sources of inspiration
Fatherly guidance plays an influential role on shaping our future and can serve as lifelong sources of inspiration. Editorial photographer Mat Hayward credits his father for kindling his love for photography. When he was a teenager, Mat’s father enrolled him in a photography class at the local community college as his birthday gift. “Most of the information went way over my head at the time,” Mat admits, “but it really sparked my quest to learn as much as I could about photography, which ultimately led me to where I am today.”
These days, Mat isn’t shy about getting his dad involved in his stock photo shoots. When his father was hospitalized with a cast on his leg, Mat turned his dad’s misfortune into an opportunity and staged a photo shoot in his hospital room, with his dad as the model.
Mat hopes to pass on this passion for creativity to his two daughters: “It is critically important to tap into the creative side of your brain — not to earn money or for any other tangible reason but simply to keep your creative side alive and flourishing.”