Let Zun Lee’s photographs challenge your notions of black fatherhood

Let Zun Lee’s photographs challenge your notions of black fatherhood

Carlos and Selah Richardson enjoying an afternoon at the Georgia Aquarium. Atlanta, GA. (Image: Zun Lee) Carlos and Selah Richardson enjoying an afternoon at the Georgia Aquarium. Atlanta, GA. (Image: Zun Lee)
 

Zun Lees images of black fatherhood are refreshingly candid. The Toronto photographer’s black-and-white shots—a father and son running across the road with a football, a infant’s hand wrapped around his dad’s finger, a weeping man with his kid in the background—don’t focus on poverty or despair. They capture life in all its ambiguity, revealing the reality behind the familiar caricatures of deadbeat absentee dads and exacting patriarchs. Lee, whose own biological father left his mother after she became pregnant, took the photos over several years as he developed relationships and occasionally lived with black fathers and families across the United States. The resulting shots, displayed in an exhibition called Father Figure at the BAND Gallery, document joy, pain and vulnerability through the smallest of gestures—a protective embrace, a caring glance, a gentle smile.

To Apr. 2. BAND Gallery, 1 Lansdowne Ave., 2nd Floor, 647-701-4323, band-rand.com.