Dave Engledow is the world’s best father. He even has the book to prove it. Engledow’s ongoing photo series “documenting” life with his daughter Alice Bee is dangerously charming. Initiated in 2010, when Alice Bee was about six weeks old, Engledow has Photoshopped the pair into absurd, perilous, and touching scenarios. His wife Jen helps with every shoot, sometimes entering the frame.
“It’s funny-my initial intent with these images was to create something a bit darker that subverted the cutesy, overly-poignant clichés you see in a lot of traditional baby portraiture. I never intended for this project to be a heartwarming, feel-good story. Ironically, what a lot of people tell me they take away from these images is the obvious love that I have for Alice Bee-people see beyond the silly, satirical character I portray in these images and instead see a father who has decided to spend his precious free-time creating something special and unique for his daughter. I guess that’s pretty cool, if unintended and unexpected.” (Source)
To create the images, Engledow shoots Alice Bee first, a process that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. He then photographs himself and digitally combines the images, which takes between 5-15 hours depending on the complexity of the shot. The series first gained attention in 2013 when Kickstarter featured his campaign to turn the photos into a calendar. Confessions of the World’s Best Father, the book, followed in May 2014.
“The character I portray in this series is intended to be a parody of the father I hope I never become–distracted, self-absorbed, neglectful, clueless, or even occasionally overbearing.” (Source)
Part perplexed, part demented, Engledow commits to his role as bumbling dad. The result is a labor of love that captures the unique bond between father and daughter.
It’s hard not to be absolutely delighted with this story and these illustrations. Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist who used to keep her art projects separate from her daughter’s as a way to maintain control of artistic direction. One day, that changed when her 4-year-old insisted that Hendricks share her new sketchbook with her, finally berating her with, “we might have to take it away if you can’t share,” something Hendricks told her daughter often. So Hendricks let her finish the bodies of many faces she’d started (informed by old black and white movie stills), and was surprised and delighted with the results. Hendricks claims her daughter often has a focused direction when finishing a piece, and that her imagination is unpredictable.
After her daughter finishes drawing, Hendricks adds color and highlights, texture and painting to complete them. Her daughter critques most of them a bit harshly, but ultimately enjoys their collaboration. As for Hendricks, the collaboration means more to her than the creation of interesting and unique illustrations:
“…From it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.”
You can purchase prints of these delightful illustrations here. (via)
Graphic Design can often get the bad rap of lacking soul or substance. Designer Brent Holloman, however, created a series with heart. When his daughter was born in 2012 he decided to create a new silhouette of her each week. Ranging from illustration to sculpture, each week brings a profile of his little girl. These are a sampling of the many pieces he created. Holloman comments on the series:
” With the arrival of our first baby girl there is one thing I hear all the time… “They grow up so fast.” So I decided to start a project where I can mark the stages of her growth by doing a silhouette of her each week for her first year (or as long as I can keep it going).”