When my first son, Nathan, was born almost 30 years ago, my father told me to remember that we don’t own our children, but rather that they have been gifted to us on loan – to look after and care for. My father didn’t always give the best advice, and in many ways, he wasn’t the best example of fatherhood, but that thought he gave me stuck with me.
In many ways, the idea of having a child on loan makes you somehow value the time you have with them more. It focuses your mind and instils a sense of urgency. For a relatively short period of time, you have the opportunity to influence, teach and build values that hopefully eventually releases them to become and accept and love who they are. There is no silver bullet for parenthood, and for most of us, it’s a steep learning curve, full of embarrassing mistakes.
As they grow out of toddlerhood and into their ‘tweenies’, life becomes easier for a while. Then they hit teenage and the tables start to turn as they become adults and start to develop their own unique identities. The cross over from childhood to adulthood has always fascinated me and for each of my 4 children, it’s been a different and inspiring journey – not without turbulence, but never a dull moment. I’m glad to say that through it all, we all still love each other, despite it not always feeling that way.
This study of that change-over period- from boy to man, mainly features Jack and George who are the youngest two. This is partly due to the fact that I only really started taking more photos recently. I now wish I could go back in time and capture some of the very unusual and special moments with Jemima and Nathan who are now adults. But I also know that they feel relieved at having escaped the intence scrutiny of my lens in their darkest hours. Surprisingly, George on the other hand has been more than willing to be photographed on most occasions and for this reason alone, he is un-fairly represented as the lead character. All four of my children are stars in their own right and I’m equally proud of them, especially for letting me intrude and document their sensitive and self-conscious lives at a time when most teenagers wouldn’t.
Out of respect for my daughter Jemima Eve, who prefers not to be represented on camera, I have omitted any images of her from this series. I’m working and collaborating with her on a different study coming soon.
Sons of Adam is a snapshot of young lives growing up and is limited to what I saw through my own lens. The project is work in progress.