The idea came from wanting to do something special for Father’s Day.
The Book of Everyone is run by three dads, one of whom has just had a baby and still has that look of wonder – or terror – on his face. As co-founder Steve Hanson put it, “We thought it’d be fun to celebrate that awe, worry, and relief on the faces of new Dads who have just witnessed the birth of their sons or daughters in hospitals around London.”
We wondered: What do brand spanking new Dads look like? So we decided to find out.
What resulted is this collection of moving photos, each taken in the moment that a someone became a dad. Each is accompanied by sage words of wisdom imparted from the dads to the newborns in their very first moments of life.
We sent photographer Dave Young to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for three nights on a mission to capture new fathers. “It was intense and emotional for me, too,” Dave told us, “even though I didn’t know these people. They had given me permission to be part of this intimate moment in their lives.” We rounded up the series of candid shots of dads at the moment of birth in a special edition book, The Book of Dads.
In the book, we ask each new father to offer up a bit of advice to their child (“Live your life as if it were a constant pursuit of happiness,” “No tattoos until you’re 30 and always be nice to your mum!”). We also offer salient parenthood advice right back to the dads, who are pretty much in way over their heads (“Do not take what she screams at you personally,” “Babysitters are basically rentable parents. Use them with reckless abandon.“).
The moving photos display the shock and awe of new fathers, captured mere minutes after the birth of their child. The protagonists of the moment of birth are – rightfully – the mom and the baby. But it’s also the exact moment when someone becomes a dad.
The raw emotion painted all over the new dads’ faces after meeting their baby for the first time is pure, instant, unfathomable love. Their world’s been changed – forever – by this miniature human being, now more important to them than anything else. And it shows. And it’s wonderful.
A huge thank you goes out to all the dads who took part in the project. We hope they find holding on to this fleeting, life-changing moment as beautiful as we do.
Just for fun, we asked the dads around the office what their first thoughts were upon becoming fathers:
- “Wow… I did that!! Followed by, I will not get this wrong!” – Paul O’Neill
- “Shit. I’m way out of my depth here, there’s no way I’m prepared for this. My girlfriend laughed. I was 40 years old after all.” – Jonny Biggins
- “There is no rule book when bring up children. Just do your best, do it your way and love deeply.” – Jason Bramley
- “Don’t listen to dads that try to give you advice, unless it’s your dad.” – Steve Hanson
- “It gradually gets easier – try to enjoy every moment even when you think you’re losing it!” – Tom Wilkinson
We’d love a little window into any stories you have about someone becoming a father. Share yours with us in the comments below.