A One and a Two
My first son was born in 2013. 15 months later, he was joined by his younger brother. Both my wife and I are the only children in our families. The quick addition of two siblings brought a lot of changes, and opened up a new perspective in vast contrast to our own childhood without siblings. As a photographer, I documented the time they grew up together. Cameras have been a constant presence in their field of view. Over the years, my collection has grown to over a hundred thousand photographs.
Physically down to kids’ level, seeing through a camera lens, I paid closer attention to my boys with an intimate perspective different from a typical parental one. It allowed me to take more seriously the significance of many fleeting moments which often get lost in the day-to-day wrangling of young boys. It was challenging to be both a parent and an objective observer, striking a delicate balance between letting things unfold and keeping them in order, especially when kids were trying to push boundaries.
Whether my sons realize it or not, the resulting photographs will become a valuable document of a time and place that explores the bond of brotherhood and fatherhood. One day, they will be able to look at these images that they created together with their father, and relive the process of making them as a vessel that contains memories of the time we spent together.
I hope these pictures will raise questions as to what these boys are about in enacting the traits of childhood: what they are thinking, feeling, and why? Family is many things: complicated, joyful, sad, exhilarating, uplifting, and wrapped up in its time and place. In a gentle way, my work will examine the notion of family, with a profound sense of slippage, of ambiguity, of participation in the puzzling drama of childhood. The cumulative effect of these pictures goes beyond an immigrant father’s deeply personal experience to communicate something more universal about the upbringing of American boys today. There is a slowness, almost solemn, as my two boys and I explore, the unexplainable nature of kinship.