My husband and I always talk about how nothing can prepare you for parenthood: The highs and lows, the moments of total frustration and total happiness, the excitement you feel when you experience your child's “firsts.” We've only been parents for about 19 months and yet we're still surprised by how much we've learned, how much our baby boy teaches us.
This beautiful series by documentary fine art photographer Kristen Schmid, takes you inside the life of a parent. Called “Father to Son,” the photos capture everyday moments happening between her husband Ted and their oldest son Sam. Watch as Sam grows from a tender 3-weeks-old to a mature age 7, and see how his father plays a vital role in his development.
“I am interested in what it feels like to be the parent, and in what it feels like to be the child,” Schmid states. “I am trying to distill what I know is important about how they interact with each other, and how that changes over time.
“Just as my husband learns about being a father through the act of parenting, I learn about this relationship through the act of taking pictures. Frequently I am surprised by what I notice with a camera that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. The pictures are a testament to what I think is true, and also a method of discovery. Experience and time deepen my understanding. But people and their relationships are ever-changing, creating more layers to explore.
“Parenting is a mix of simultaneous and intense opposites: love and frustration, joy and duty, play and discipline, closeness and separation. Togetherness and opposition can happen at the same time.
“My husband and son have their own unique thoughts and emotions. They may have different experiences of the same situation. They are not always aware of each other's perspective, or how their actions affect each other. Sometimes they don't see how similar they are….What I want to bring to the conversation is an examination of how the father-son relationship takes shape. Everyday parent-child interactions are more meaningful and influential than even the participants realize.”
Above: Ted holds Sam after his bath. Sam, born in 2006, was three weeks old, and Ted was 29.
For the first few months our older son slept in our room. Here he is three weeks old.
Father and son take stock of their respective outside worlds in our Springfield, Ill., home. Here Sam is 22 months old.
Sam helps Ted bag leaves in our front yard. Sam is three and a half years old.
Ted gives Sam guidance as he combs his hair for a family Thanksgiving gathering. Sam is three and a half years old.
Ted shows Sam, then three years old, how he should gently touch his younger brother Eli, 9 months, left.
Ted relaxes with Eli, almost one, center, and Sam, almost four, right, after church. They are gathered in the doorway of our Springfield, Ill., home because Eli likes to look out through the glass.
Ted reads to Sam, age four, before bed. Eli, age one, is at right. My feet are at bottom right.
Ted bought the boys squirt guns because he thought they would have fun, and he got ones he thought would be big enough that they wouldn't be outgunned by other kids.
My husband, Ted, helps our older son Sam, age seven, climb up a canyon wall during a family vacation to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Ill.
My husband works with our older son on brainstorming best and worst-case scenarios in an effort to make him feel better about the upcoming school year.
Sam, age seven, gives his dad a long embrace when he sees him for the first time at the end of Ted's workday. My younger son Eli, at right, is four years old. We are about to eat dinner in the dining room of our Springfield, Ill., home, which has vestiges of past birthday celebrations.