At the age of forty, photographer Phillip Toledano became a father. But as Toledano discovered in the minutes after his daughter was born, “There’s how you feel, and then there’s how you think you should feel…Was I overwhelmed in a tsunami of love? Not really.” Toledano’s book, The Reluctant Father, follows one man’s journey at the beginning of fatherhood. Over the course of his child’s first eighteen months, Toledano goes through torment, dismay, and confusion. He loses sleep, finds his relationship with his wife radically altered, and gets to know the ins and outs of the “baby industrial complex”. And throughout this process of self-doubt and guilt, we watch as he falls in love.
The book is personal, honest, and, most refreshingly, entertaining. The Reluctant Father is equally worthwhile for a serious photography lover and someone who’s never picked up a photobook before. Some photobooks are justifiably difficult, the kinds of objects that painfully reveal glimpses of the irresolvable contradictions of the human predicament. This isn’t one of those books and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, its straightforward simplicity is what makes it such an uplifting joy to read.
(Review by Alexander Strecker)
About the artist:
Phillip Toledano (born 1968) is a British photographer living and working in New York City. As an artist, he works across mediums from photography to installation. His conceptual themes are primarily socio-political. Toledano has three monographs published on his artistic practice, with the most recent, ‘Days With My Father’, being received to critical acclaim.
About the publisher:
Dewi Lewis Publishing is a partnership owned and run by Caroline Warhurst and Dewi Lewis. Founded in 1994, its photography list has an international reputation and has included books by leading British and international photographers such as William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pelegrin and Bruce Gilden. The aim of the company is to bring to the attention of a wider public, accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners. The company has a worldwide distribution network and is recognised as one of the leading photographic publishers in the world.