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Photography is like a religion, but after my son was born, I had a dream that the house was on fire and I had to save my negatives or my son, so I saved my son. Being a dad is the thing I enjoy most in my life.

I realized from a policy standpoint that as a country we were totally ignoring fathers. We weren’t looking at a dad as an integrated part of a family. I realized that we weren’t valuing men.

What tied together the dads I photographed is lots of fatherhood programs. These focus on relationships – listening to your wife and being responsible. In a relationship you need to give people what they need and want, not what you think they need and want.

The picture of the man and father mowing the lawn – that shows the importance of men as role models. The picture of the man being fed ice cream – he’s a father who’s dressed like he’s in a gang. In the [fatherhood] program, he went back to school and started taking care of kids. That’s what’s inspiring in the different [fatherhood] projects I saw – what good fathers these men were.

Non-white fathers and poor fathers are seen in a different way [by society] and I hope that comes through in these pictures. Everybody is capable of being a good or bad parent. I made so many mistakes raising my own son. Nobody’s a perfect parent and nobody’s got no redeeming parent qualities. These guys really were becoming better dads. I hope these pictures will help people realize how important dads are.

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