At 26, Arizona-based photographer Shannon Smith didn't expect to have a family with children, especially because she was still in graduate school. So when Smith found herself with a husband, a 14-month-old child, and a baby on the way, the experience of domesticity felt sudden and even a little "foreign" to her.
"I created something I never thought I would want in my life, this little unit with a mom and dad."
In order to explore this new life and the phases of motherhood, Smith created "Doing It Domestic," a photo series documenting her growing family over the course of 10 years. In particular, the series focuses on the role of her husband as father because as she explains in her artist statement:
My dad left before I was born, so I never experienced what having a father was like. Watching my husband be a father to our children is the most fascinating thing to me. I'm witness to something I missed out on in my childhood. I always thought I was fine with never having a dad since he left before I could get a taste for it. However, watching this role of "dad" play out by my husband for over the last ten years, I think I do miss it. Creating this body of work has been a way for me to capture all of this while it unfolds before my eyes, then ponder these relationships within our family, and finally prove to myself that something like this CAN indeed exist.
Smith ends by saying she hopes that unlike herself, who chose to forget certain harsher moments of her childhood, that her kids will want to remember each and every second, and that "Doing It Domestic" will help. "I feel like in a sense, having children has opened up the possibility for me to have a second childhood, and I'm loving every second of it," she writes. "I can only hope that they are too."
Check out just a few photographs from Smith's series below:
Gotta Love Swamp Coolers
First Day of Kindergarten
The Night Before Xmas
Brother and Sister
Red, White, and Blue
The Last First Day of Kindergarten
10 Year Anniversary
Husband and Wife
Mother and Daughter
In the A.M.
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