This Father Has Photographed His Son All His Life. He Hopes To Change The World’s View Of Black Families

This Father Has Photographed His Son All His Life. He Hopes To Change The World’s View Of Black Families

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Rashod Taylor’s son, LJ, lies in his fort built partially with an American flag. “LJ is always making forts,” Taylor said, “and on this particular day, he wanted me to photograph him in one that he put together.”

Rashod Taylor knows he is raising a son in a country that is not always kind to Black men and boys.

Taylor said he sees how Black men are criminalized, killed by police and portrayed as absentee fathers.

It worries him. One day 6-year-old LJ will grow up and leave home while carrying the weight of his blackness. Taylor said he won’t always be there to protect him.

Taylor in a self-portrait with LJ in 2020. Taylor said his photo series “Little Black Boy” depicts a more vulnerable and emotional side of both him and LJ. Taylor, who is a portrait photographer based in Springfield, Missouri, channels this fear by taking photos of his son doing ordinary things such as taking a bath with his mom, sleeping, swimming or posing with a New York Yankees hat. Taylor sometimes joins LJ in the photos.

Taylor said he wants the world to see Black boys and Black men in a different light. There is a “tender, loving and caring” side that isn’t always shown in the media, he said.

“You don’t see positive images of Black families and Black fathers present with their kids,” Taylor said. “It’s just another side of the narrative that I wanted to show.”

LJ’s mother, Marianne, bathes with him in 2020. LJ stands in his grandparents’ backyard. Taylor said the photo series “Little Black Boy” depicts a more vulnerable and emotional side of both him and LJ. It also shows the closeness of their bond.

One photo, for example, is of Taylor sleeping next his son on the couch. Another is an image of their faces side by side with solemn looks.

Taylor said the portraits convey that he loves his son deeply but struggles with the fact that he can’t go everywhere with him.

LJ looks at the camera after getting in trouble while his mother, Marianne, gently holds his face. Taylor doesn’t recall exactly what LJ did, but said “as a 4-year-old boy there are a lot of teachable moments growing up.”

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This father has photographed his son all his life. He hopes to change the world’s view of Black families

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