Artist's Statement

Dirk Anschütz

Fathers and Sons

Portraits of an influential relationship

I became the father of a boy in 2012 and the change this constantly evolving relationship has brought to my life is hard to overstate. Since I was the single child of a single mother (I never knew my father), I also have to navigate parenthood without any first hand role models. This gave me an interest in photographically exploring the relationships of other fathers and sons.

Obviously fathers and sons are incredibly important to each other. A father is the first and often main role model for a son. He constantly has to strike a balance between safety and freedom, support and letting his son learn by failing. He also has to reflect on how he leads his own life and how that will influence his son’s choices.

A son often travels a complicated journey from early worship for his father to questioning and rebellion, and on to a more balanced relationship. It’s not uncommon that the adult son returns in a role reversal to help his father and even to take care of him.

In many parts of our society views of fatherhood and manhood are shifting. A man’s role in his family and at work is being fundamentally reexamined and expanded. This creates new opportunities but also new responsibilities and anxieties. Often a development towards new tolerance also leads to a pushback on a private and political level. Meanwhile the way we as men are interacting with humankind is often deeply influenced by the father-son relationship.

In Fathers & Sons I explore some of the stages and variations of fatherhood. The fathers and sons in these images display the camaraderie, tensions, annoyances, competitiveness, pride, and love at the root of their relationships.