Zachary P. Stephens

Title

Zachary P. Stephens

Contributor

Zachary P. Stephens

Medium

Artist Statement

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 the anxieties and everyday encounters of being a dad in rural, suburban America. After finding myself married with three kids and living in a small suburban-esque neighborhood filled with cookie-cutter houses, things that I never exactly imagined or planned for, the idealized notions of the American family have become increasingly significant as well as overwhelming to me. Between the patriarchal depictions of fatherhood in the 1980s and 1990s media that influenced my idea of family through my childhood, to the contemporary pressures of being an involved and nurturing father, all the while not really having any idea of how to be a father at all, this project is my way of trying to understand where I exist within this spectrum, and what fatherhood, family, and masculinity mean to me. Each image deals with relatable parenting struggles and the stereotypes associated with fatherhood, including the realities of managing chaos, the high levels of tension, the feelings of lost identity and inadequacy, and the sheer love of being a parent. They juxtapose the highly polished and colorful elements within everyday family life with scenarios and symbolic elements that create a sense of unease and exhaustion. The result creates a surreal and often humorous narrative that provides relatability to a broad spectrum of viewers and questions the constructions that drive modern parenting. If we can’t laugh, we cry. Sometimes we do both.

Collection

Citation

studio, “Zachary P. Stephens,” Artist Parent Index , accessed April 13, 2024, https://www.artistparentindex.com/items/show/604.

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