I'll be honest, it's not usually the dads who contact me for a photo session. It's normally a mum who gets in touch, a mum who organises the date, co-ordinates the family and runs everyone around to get there on the day. The dad often has a limited idea of what is happening - but to my relief - is usually happy to go along for the afternoon. To those dad's I say 'Try to forget I'm here, enjoy the time playing with your kids and have fun.' Occasionally it's a dad who books the session and then I get a bit excited. They are the ones who 'get it', the dads who see the value in having photographs of themselves WITH their kids. They appreciate the fleeting nature of time and I know they'll look back on the photos and smile, seeing how they look as a dad through their kids eyes. I think that's important, but the people I take these photos for are their kids. I want the kids to look back on these photographs and see how much their dad loved them. I want the kids to remember how much fun it was hanging out with their dad and how he made them feel.
Remember when you were a kid how you'd fall asleep in the car on the way home from big day? If you are anything like me you would wake up as the car turned onto your street (what is it about those familiar turns that trigger your body to wake up?!). I remember that feeling, how I'd be disappointed that I had woken up, and how I'd try desperately to be as still as humanly possible, faking sleep just so dad would carry me inside. It was like a victory, the best way to get into bed. I'm pretty sure I always had a smile on my face when it worked. Maybe I was peeking out of one half-closed eye to see if my brother did as good a job of faking it as I had. But mostly I was just enjoying that moment while it happened, that feeling of being secure and loved and happy. That's how I want these kids to feel when they grow up and see photos of themselves with their own dad.
In celebration of Father's Day, here's an ode to the dads I've worked with over the last year. Thanks to the dads (and mum's of course!) for being so much fun, and for being yourself. Happy Father's Day, I hope you get a good sleep in and the best home-made card ever.