Kristen Schmid: Father to Son
exploring work focusing on family this week….
Kristen Schmid is an observer and artist, capturing moments and memories, shafts of light and quiet gestures of love and caring all under her own roof. She documents the profound connection between a father and his sons, and her sons and their father. Kristen is able to stand apart and capture the nuanced relationships of two generations, the role of the parent and the child, and the emotional and exhausting journey of family in a beautiful, real, and poignant project, Father to Son.
Kristen is a documentary fine art photographer based in Springfield, Illinois. Currently she is working on long-term personal projects about family, childhood, parenting and gender. She also enjoys taking storytelling photographs and portraits for a variety of national publications and organizations. and has received awards from American Photography 27, CENTER in Santa Fe, FRESH/Klompching Gallery and the National Press Photographers Association. Kristen was previously a staff photographer at The State Journal-Register and a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Art from Stanford University. Originally from California, she is now at home in the Midwest withherhusband, Ted, and sons, Sam and Eli.
Father to Son
My documentary photo project “Father to Son” explores the intense, complex and evolving relationship between my husband and our oldest son. I am interested in what it feels like to be the parent, and in what it feels like to be the child. I am trying to distill what I know is important about how they interact with each other, and how that changes over time.
Just as my husband learns about being a father through the act of parenting, I learn about this relationship through the act of taking pictures. Frequently I am surprised by what I notice with a camera that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The pictures are a testament to what I think is true, and also a method of discovery. Experience and time deepen my understanding. But people and their relationships are ever-changing, creating more layers to explore.Parenting is a mix of simultaneous and intense opposites: love and frustration, joy and duty, play and discipline, closeness and separation. Togetherness and opposition can happen at the same time.
My husband and son have their own unique thoughts and emotions. They may have different experiences of the same situation. They are not always aware of each other’s perspective, or how their actions affect each other. Sometimes they don’t see how similar they are.
Other photographers have mined the domestic landscape, creating interesting and relevant work: Elinor Carucci, Sally Mann, Julie Blackmon and Jessica Todd Harper, to name a few. What I want to bring to the conversation is an examination of how the father-son relationship takes shape. Everyday parent-child interactions are more multifaceted, meaningful and influential than even the participants realize.