Published June 28th, 2017
Photography exhibit celebrates fatherhood at the Lafayette Library
By Kara Navolio
Casey with his daughter Emera, 2, and his son Keats, 4. Photo Nancy Rubin
The bond between father and child is beautifully captured by photographer Nancy Rubin in her show Mighty Dads at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.
The portraits capture everyday dads who she encounters as she goes about her regular routine, always with camera in hand. She doesn't go out seeking models for her work; rather, she stumbles upon them, and when people catch her interest for some reason, she will stop and ask to photograph them. Then she will ask them for a quote. The whole process takes only 10 minutes, but Rubin is always grateful that people are so willing to interrupt their day to take part.
This work was inspired by Humans of New York, a project by New York photographer Brandon Stanton featuring interviews and photos of thousands of people on the streets of New York City. The images and interviews are placed on social media. Stanton's Facebook page has over 17.8 million followers.
In 2013 Rubin began Humans of Berkeley and the Bay Area (HUBBA). "My favorite thing to photograph is people," says Rubin. "Even when I travel, I love to photograph the people." She has 1,600 followers on Facebook ( When her photography instructor encouraged her to look for a theme in her work, she easily saw how many dads with children she had photographed.
Rubin, who seriously came to photography in her retirement from teaching, may have been influenced by her own special relationship with her father.
"When I was young I thought everybody had a great father like mine, but then when I was teaching high school, stories would pour out from my students about abuse, absent fathers. If I could change one thing I would put a loving, involved father in every home," reflects Rubin. "I find it hopeful and beautiful when I see dads playing, reading, or giggling with their children. There seem to be so many dads out with their children."
Mighty Dads is showing in the Homework Center through July 17 and can be seen during library hours. The images are a subset of 29 originally shown at the North Berkeley Library and are now permanently displayed at Kaiser Richmond.
Rubin is currently working on another collection called Reframing Ageing featuring residents of Albany Village who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. It will be at the North Berkeley Library from Sept. 16-Oct. 28.
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