Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

Father Figure was awarded the following:

• Shortlisted at the Paris Photo – Aperture Photobook Awards for PhotoBook of the Year
• Finalist at the POYi Awards for Best Photography Book
• Winner of Best PhotoBook of the Year at the PDN Photo Annual

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Widely hailed as a landmark project, Zun Lee’s monograph is at once documentary photography and personal visual storytelling. Through intimate black-and-white frames, Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of African-descended family life.

If you still believe that black men are largely absentee figures in the lives of their children and families, you obviously have not seen the photographs made by Zun Lee. Lee’s photographs not only give the lie to this belief, they do so with a deep passion and a fine and smartly probing eye. Zun Lee’s photographs provide rich evidence of how photography, in the right hands, can shape our sense of the world we are living in for the better. Dawoud Bey, Photographer, Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago.

Zun Lee’s Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood is an incredible and necessary visual narrative. The images in this series provide balance and insight into a growing problem facing African American communities today. Zun’s critical eye has a deeply rooted connection to this story, allowing the viewer to see the often-invisible fathers, who strive to be providers and protectors for their children. All too often, these types of images never make the local news or mainstream media; however his work serves as a form of visual medicine to help in the healing process of so many in today’s society who are searching for answers to an ever growing concern. – Jamel Shabazz, Photographer, Author of Back in the Days, A Time Before Crack, and Seconds of My Life.

[Lee’s work explores] very interesting issues of identity and representation, especially the question of how African-American males and fathers are presented in popular culture. – David Gonzalez, Co-Editor, New York Times Lens Blog.


Photographs by Zun Lee
Foreword by Teju Cole
Epilogue by Trymaine Lee


ZUN LEE is a photographer and physician in Toronto, Canada. His visual storytelling centers on overlooked social issues in marginalized communities. He was named onto Photo District News’ List of 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2014. His work has been published in Burn Magazine, New York Times’ Lens Blog, Revista Photo Magazine and other publications.


TEJU COLE is a writer and photographer. He is the author of two books, a novella, Every Day is for the Thief, which was a New York Times Editors’ Pick, and a novel, Open City, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Internationaler Literaturpreis, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His photography has been featured in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and A Public Space. He is currently the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College.


TRYMAINE LEE is a Pulitzer Prize-winning national journalist at MSNBC. Widely credited for his role in bringing the Trayvon Martin killing into national prominence, he reports on education, gun violence and social justice issues. Prior to MSNBC, he was a reporter at the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where he was part of a team that won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Hurricane Katrina coverage.



In stock

Publishing date:

September 2014


30,6 cm x 20,9 cm / 12.2″ x 7.87″

124 pages, 61 photographs

Hardcover, edition of 1000

Offset printing by EBS, Italy

ISBN 978-1-941781-00-5


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