The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Dirk Anschutz


I am the father of a young boy and the only child of a single mom.  I’ve never met my dad.

I’ve been traveling around the US to take portraits of fathers and sons from many different cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The different ways you can grow up in this country are astounding but many challenges for fathers and sons and the love between them are still the same.

The most basic role of a father is to protect his child while also allowing the kid to learn and grow by failing and getting hurt (but not too much).  It’s a constant balancing of preaching caution and abandon. On top of that there’s the expected guidance in inter-personal, scholastic, tech-related, sexual (dear Lord, no!), and financial behavior.  Plus installing a basic value system for dealing with a constantly changing world.  What could possibly go wrong?

Obviously, the father-son-relationship is incredibly influential for both.  Many times, a son will follow in his dad’s footsteps, and most dads have to make big life changes to accommodate their children.  Children might have to return the favor when their parents grow old.

I’ve tried to capture all of these things in my images.  But the glue that holds everything together is the love between a parent and a child.  It’s primal and fundamental.  If it’s not there for whatever reason, it’s probably hard to have a good lifelong relationship and it’s probably hard for the child to develop all the tools needed for a good life.  If the love is there, there’s a good chance it will carry father and son through all their difficulties and shortcomings.  Probably everybody who had a child can recall the feeling when your baby’s lying on your chest.  It’s glorious and terrifying all at the same time and it really changes your life forever.

Andrew & Homer, Brooklyn, NY, 2016

Homer is 9 days old in this image and I think you can see here the foundation of everything. The love between a parent and a child is so primal and fundamental. If it’s not there for whatever reason it’s probably hard to have a good life-long relationship and it won’t be easy for the child to develop all the tools he or she needs for a good life. If the love is there, there’s a good chance it will  carry father and son through all their difficulties and shortcomings. Probably everyone who has had a child can remember the feeling of your baby lying on your chest. It’s glorious and terrifying all at the same time and it changes your life forever.

Fung Kit (Michael) & Wing-Hong (Andrew), Mountain View, CA, 2023

Fung Kit immigrated from China to study in the US. He stayed on and became an engineer for Hershey’s Chocolate in Pennsylvania. He and Andrew live now in separate apartments at the same complex in Silicon Valley where Andrew is the founder of a tech startup. Andrew invited his friends Brian and Louisa for a game of mahjong with his dad. (Fung Kit mopped the floor with the young people.)

Jason & Chester, Jupiter, FL, 2018

Jason is a firefighter and surfer. He’s very concerned about safety in his professional life, but as is apparent in this image, he’s also confident in his physical abilities. Like everything in life and fatherhood, it’s about balance.

Jonathan & Benjamin, Randolph, NJ, 2021

Jonathan is a lawyer who is very passionate about hunting. He is the owner of a deer hunting camp in the Poconos. While Benjamin is still too young to go on a proper hunt with his dad, Jonathan is teaching him how to track deer, look for signs of wildlife in the woods and search for antlers that the bucks shed.

Wyatt & Mike, West Point, NY, 2019

Mike graduated from West Point 30 years before Wyatt. He spent 4 years in the Army before he rejoined civilian life. He returned to West Point to celebrate Wyatt’s graduation from the military academy.

Paul & Sonny, San Francisco, CA, 2023

Paul is a craftsman who works with artists to build their creations. He and Sonny went through a very rough time, Paul’s dad passed away and their family dog died while Sonny’s mom had a life threatening health crisis. To keep themselves occupied and grounded they’ve built things like a soapbox car together. Here Sonny is practicing his welding skills in his dad’s workshop.

Paula & Jonathan, Brooklyn, NY, 2018

Paula is a father who transitioned from male to female when she was 61 years old. Both she and Jonathan are pastors. Paula, when she was a man, was a televangelist and ran a mega-church on Long Island. After she transitioned she lost all her jobs with that church and she now leads a small congregation in Colorado. Jonathan, who is the pastor of a church in Brooklyn, wrote a book about the experience of his dad becoming a woman (it wasn’t easy). They gave a TED talk together shortly after our shoot.

Raul & Mario & Salomon & Ramon, Abiquiu, NM, 2021

Salomon was one of the founders of the Abiquiu Volunteer Fire Department. His son Mario is also a volunteer in the same department, Raul is a professional firefighter in Los Alamos, and Ramon is a retired professional firefighter for the Navy in Virginia. They all live in Abiquiu now.

Voodah & Rahmel, Brooklyn, NY, 2019

Voodah is an artist who collaborates with his son in a series of videos. He taught Rahmel meditation and encourages him to meditate often to create a space for himself in a crowded life.


To see more of this project, click here

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

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