The photographs of six Taos fathers and their families are featured in a book called “Choosing Fatherhood, America’s Second Chance.”
The hard cover book contains the glossy portraits by photographer Lewis Kostiner, plus essays about fatherhood by David Travis, Shipra S. Parikh, Roland C. Warren, and Derick M. Bryan, and an introduction by Juan Williams.
In the book’s preface, Kostiner said he began the project after attending a fundraiser for the National Fatherhood Initiative, and meeting its president Roland Warren in 2007. Kostiner, a product of a home with “a missing father,” decided instead of giving a donation he would travel to community programs across the nation, such as Taos’ NonviolenceWorks, to meet and photograph fathers and their children. The project resulted in the book.
The National Fatherhood Initiative is a nonprofit whose mission is to improve children’s well-being through the promotion of responsible fatherhood. A portion of the book’s profits will benefit the National Fatherhood Initiative.
In Taos, Kostiner photographed: Robert Mirabal and his three daughters of Taos Pueblo; John Tafoya and his daughter, of Taos; Joey Silva and his four children, of El Prado; Steve Lamar and his son, of Taos; John Tafoya, with his parents and daughter, of Ranchos de Taos; and Jed Magee and his sons, of Taos.
Many of the fathers, such as Magee, were quoted. Here he talks about his father, Vishu Magee, the founder of NonviolenceWorks: “My dad took the responsibility of being a father very deeply. It was always apparent to me that it was his number-one priority to provide not just in the material sense, but to be spiritually and emotionally available at all times. I think I’m a very interactive dad. I’ve always coached their soccer teams, participated in the ski program and am actually the chairman of the board at their school. So I think that I’m following in my father’s footsteps.”
And from Tafoya, “I try to teach my daughter right from wrong. How to pick up her toys after she plays with them and be careful not to get stuff that she’s not supposed to have. The tough part of being a day is being patient. Not going on a bad temper, not yelling at her, and just talking to her with good works, and she won’t grow up yelling.”
Kostiner also writes about his encounters with the fathers. “I saw the pride in the eyes of Robert Mirabal, the famous flute player and flute maker, at home with his daughters on the Taos Pueblo.”
The book is available at Moby Dickens Bookstore.