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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Zachary Stephens

SPE Member since 2015
Member Chapter: Northeast

Are We There Yet?

After finding myself married with three kids and living in what I would consider rural suburbia, things that I never exactly planned for, the idealized notions of the American family have become increasingly overwhelming to me. Between the patriarchal depictions of fatherhood in 80s and 90s media that influenced my idea of family, to contemporary pressures of being an involved and nurturing father, this project is my way of trying to understand where I exist within this spectrum, and what fatherhood and family mean to me.

Are We There Yet? is a series of large-format photographs exploring modern fatherhood. Utilizing moments of humor and satire, the highly constructed tableau images create scenarios that play out anxieties as well as everyday encounters of being a dad in rural suburban America.

Each image deals with relatable parenting struggles and the stereotypes associated with fatherhood. This includes the realities of managing the chaos and high levels of tension, yet completely surrounded in the love in parenting. Juxtaposing the highly polished and colorful elements that can be seen within everyday family life, these scenarios and symbolic elements create a sense of unease and exhaustion.

If we can't laugh, we cry. Sometimes we do both.



Car Seat

Hair and Nails

Laundry Day



Slip and Slide

Story Time


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