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The No Longer Reluctant Father, @mrtoledano

To see more of Phillip Toledano’s explorations of self, family and society, follow @mrtoledano on Instagram.

For 18 months following his daughter’s birth in 2010, conceptual artist and self-described pathological contrarian Phillip Toledano (@mrtoledano) created a collection of photos that he called “The Reluctant Father.” The series chronicled what he described as his metamorphosis “from detached observer to eager participant.” What began as cold photos of a screaming newborn gave way to portraits exuding love and tenderness.

“It’s very odd to look back and see a time when I had no emotional connection to Loulou, because I love her so much now,” Phillip says today.

Phillip’s photo and video portraits of Loulou (who he describes as a willing, if sometimes begrudging, participant) subtly capture not only the continued evolution of their relationship, but also of her as a human. “She’s very much an artist herself. Ever since she was very small, she’s always been remarkably aware of the world around her.”

Loulou also represents a convergence of two different themes in Phillip’s work: a long-standing concern with sociopolitical issues, and a recent tack toward the deeply personal. His ongoing “Louniverse” project, for example, explores children’s relationship with technology through videos of Loulou rapt in the glow of an iPad. “That work is filled with unspoken questions,” says Phillip.