When I Look At You is a series of environmental portraits and candid moments of my father, a man who consistently inspires me through his hard work and dedication to his family. These images range from him starting his day at work, to waiting on my mom to get ready so they can go out for “date night” to farming, working around the house and hunting. They show what he does as work in order to support his family and what he does as work not because of the monetary value but because that is what he loves to do.
It started as a nostalgic project over my childhood home and eventually transitioned into a body of work capturing images that make up this subjects life by following him around every weekend for four months.
This project also shows the love and connection between subject and artist.
This hardworking man allows the photographer to photograph intimate moments that most people would never be able see. Various images in this series gives the viewer a chance to see the connection between him and the photographer. Many of these images would not be able to exist if someone other than me was photographing my father. Showing the connection between the photographer and the man is important to the series because the rest of the images are context clues of everything he does for the people he cares about.
Ultimately this body of work is for him. The camera used as a tool so he can see himself from my perspective. This body of work emphasizes his hard work and the abundance of time he puts in doesn’t go unnoticed as well as everything he does for his family is appreciated. The images presented are a small representation of what he does.
This body of work is important because it highlights the hard work and accomplishments of a man who goes above and beyond for the people he cares about. It gives an insight to my father’s life and hard work, as well as what life is like in today’s rural America and what it goes into hard work.
The Inspiration Behind When I Look At You
This body of work is important to me because it is solely focused on someone who inspires me and someone who helped me become the person that I am today. The last weekend while I was working with my dad on this project, we were outside burning leaves talking about what I want to do after college and it was that moment that I realized why I was doing this project.
In March 2016, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was the same cancer that his dad was diagnosed with and through chemo and radiation he ended up passing away two years later. So when hearing that my dad was diagnosed with the same thing, it was terrifying because I had no clue what his future was going to be. When my dad had found out the news of his own cancer, it was the same weekend he was suppose to be celebrating his achievement of driving 3 million safety miles for work. Thankfully that weekend, he had the support of his mother, sisters, wife and children. Since then, he had surgery to remove the cancer in his body and he is back to his normal self, aside from the occasional check-ups just to be clear that his is still cancer free.
When something that serious happens to someone, it generally slows them down and they aren’t the same person again. That never happened with my dad. Six days a week he gets up for work at 3:20 am and doesn’t come home until about 6:00 pm. From there he generally does his farm stuff for about another hour and doesn’t come into the house until about 7:00 and then he goes to bed around 8:00. He works almost 80 hours a week at his job along with all of the farming he does at home. He has worked hard to make sure his family has a good life. He is supportive and caring. He is hard headed and stubborn. But most of all he’s an inspiration. He has never let anything stop him from living his life.
Thank you for reading!