When Tim Nelson and Kathy Edin approached us about taking photographs for their upcoming book “Marginal Men,” we were thrilled. Not only was this an opportunity to do photography work for two Harvard sociologists, but it was also an opportunity to connect with families and nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia and Camden.
To find fathers who would be willing to participate in this project, we asked local nonprofit organizations for a few contacts. Congresso is an organization whose mission is to strengthen Latino communities. They are not only a wonderful organization that provides a wide range of services to Latino families in Philadelphia, but they were very gracious and easy to work with. Congresso put us in contact with several fathers in the Kensington area.Similarly, an organization called Single Fathers of Camden was key in helping us find fathers to photograph in Camden, New Jersey.
The founder of Single Fathers is Victor Marrero, who was featured on 20/20 with Diane Sawyer, and whose home was rebuilt by the Extreme Home Makeover show. He’s doing amazing work to provide for and advocate for single fathers in Camden. It was truly an honor to meet and work with him.Marginal MenBut the most fun has been meeting the fathers themselves. I’ll have to save their stories for future posts. Each of them has faced (and still do) certain dangers and hardships that most in the U.S. do not have to face. But they are raising their children with the same tenderness and compassion as parents everywhere. So this continues to be a fun project for us. And I think we’ll almost be disappointed when it’s finished.