Updated: Sep 18, 2020
The role of a Father has shifted throughout time, it has gone from the Father being the sole provider of a family, to typical stereotypical gender roles being blurred and rightfully Fathers now co-parenting and some even being stay-at-home Dads. Despite this shift, there are unfortunately still generations experiencing life without a present Father, a research at Princeton suggests that some 10% & 34% of children in Nigeria and South Africa respectively live in mother only families.
Nigerian Documentary Photographer, KC Nwakalor turns his lens on Mustapha Jinadu, a Nigerian-American Artist and Poet living in the US, exploring the intricacies of fatherhood and its psychological impacts in his own life.
‘Mustapha’ is an ongoing project that captures Mustapha’s healing process after a long battle with Depression, Anxiety, anger, frustration, and Paranoia which led him to Alcoholism and substance abuse. The images reflect his effort to reconnect with his son, Mehmet, however if you observe very closely, you will find that there is a still some sort of distance between them.
The documentation of Mustapha trying to be present in his son’s life touches home for KC as not having a present father-figure left him with a lot of questions, a lot of which he had to figure out for himself. ‘I learnt most of what I know about being a Husband and Father through books, Google and other human examples around me’ says KC.
KC captures Mustapha’s intimate quiet moments where the viewer is then encouraged to engage and connect with the subject instead of feeling sorry for him. Moments such as Mustapha browsing through his phone during his ‘downtime’, it is something that the majority of us can relate to. Then there is a switch to- him dropping off his Son to his basketball game offers an opportunity for the viewer to either reminisce of the days when their own Fathers would drop them off to a sports club or offer an insight of how it could possibly have been if they had experienced the same.
This ongoing personal project will be a continuation of KC’s reflection of not having a present Father in His life and Mustapha’s reality of trying to be one.
KC Nwakalor is a Documentary Photojournalist based in Abuja, Nigeria. His work centers around Socio-economic, Health and Environmental issues in West Africa. Driven by the need to visualize real issues in the region, he has been commissioned by notable organisations like The New York Times, Bloomberg, CNN, USAID, UNICEF, WFP, and a number of other clients. To view the rest of his project, visit his website and Instagram