Mike Kasdan spoke with ‘World’s Best Father,’ Dave Engledow, about his one-part-humor one-part-poignant photography project and his daughter.
The self-proclaimed-but-in-a-tongue-in-cheek-way “World’s Best Father,” Dave Engledow, and now-three-year-old daughter, Alice Bee, are at it again.
The below picture of her pouring coffee pays homage to Kim Kardashian’s “break the Internet” Papermag nude photos with champagne.
“After the Internet was annoyingly broken last week, Alice Bee and I decided to spend our newfound free time learning some more creative ways to pour my morning coffee.” (The Engledow Art Photography Facebook page.)
We had the occasion to speak with Mr. Engledow via email, and asked him the following two questions:
- What inspired you to undertake this project?
- Could you talk a little bit about your relationship with your daughter and how sense of humor and goofiness plays a role.
His answers are interspersed below, among his wonderful photos. Enjoy!
My inspiration for this project came when Alice Bee was about 9 weeks old. I was feeling totally exhausted and wanted to create an image to make fun of myself and how clueless I was feeling as a new dad.”
“I came up with the idea of using Alice’s milk for my coffee and decided at the last minute that the joke would be funnier if the coffee mug had some unattainable superlative like World’s Best Father written on it.”
“With some help from my wife Jen, we set up the shot, posted it on Facebook for our friends and family, and were pleasantly surprised by the strong positive reaction we received. A few months later, I decided to break out the mug for another image, and the project kind of took off from there.”
“Initially, my goal was primarily to create images that would both document Alice Bee’s growth and make my friends and family laugh.”
“As the series has progressed, I have used it as a vehicle to play out many of my own fears and neuroses as a parent (for whatever reason, I was convinced that I was going to accidentally leave Alice Bee’s car seat on top of the car), to comment on moments in pop culture, and to create a family scrap book for Alice that is different from anything else out there.”
“My relationship with Alice Bee is probably no different than the relationships that other parents have with their four-year-olds She can frustrate me to tears, her refusal to go to bed on time (or to do anything she is told when she is told) makes me crazy, and in every single battle of wills, she always wins. However, it’s her sense of humor, her charm, and her curiosity and excitement about life that make all of that other stuff fade into the background.”
“She is a funny, funny kid. She says or does something almost every single day that makes me laugh, or makes me smile, or just makes me shake my head in amazement.”
“The great thing about the World’s Best Father images is that, by staging these shoots on a regular basis, we are capturing her developing personality at every stage of her life. For every finished image we post online, there are dozens of outtakes where her personality shines through.”
“With every day that passes, she grows and develops and changes, so it is really nice to have this comprehensive catalog of her personality that we can look back on at any time, as a way to really remember who she was at every stage of her life so far.”
Photo Credit: All photos with permission of Dave Engledow. All of his images are available on The Engledow Art Photography Facebook page.
Kim Kardashian Photo (via Papermag)
Mr. Engeldow’s book Confessions of the World’s Best Father, is not sitting on my coffee table, and is available at the link.
For more of Michael Kasdan’s articles about offbeat Dads reveling in their kids in creative ways, see:
(See…He has a weakness for them! However, his idea for a social media game in the wake of the Kardashian photos where everyone makes every comment they make on Facebook and every reply on Twitter read “Astute, sure, but what does any of this have to do with the most pressing issue of our time, Kardashian’s ass?” That was an unmitigated failure.)