April 14, 2008

We Need A Montage! Children And Their [Babywearing] Fathers


While the wife and K2 were in NYC, the kid and I went to the book sale at the library over the weekend. It was in unusually good form: seven books for an embarrassing $1.40, including Bruno Munari's Zoo; John Lidstone's hearty 1968 b&w photo howto, Building with Cardboard; an awesome 1973 collection of Swedish "poems for people who want to grow up equal," from The Feminist Press; and another, better copy--with photo credits, even--of Children and Their Fathers Hanns Reich's great 1960 photo compilation from his thematic Terra Magica series.

It was Fulvio Roiter's photo [above] of a Spanish peasant rocking a suit and a smooth, waist-level baby carrier reminds me of a trip to Amsterdam in the kid-free late 1990's, where I remember laughing at the department store windows at the Bijenkorf across the plaza from the Hotel Krasnapolsky. There were three mannequins wearing typical business suits that had baby slings in matching fabric. At the time, nothing could've been more ridiculous to me; now, of course, I wish I'd at least made a mental note of the manufacturer.

Anyway, Reich's book shows a pretty diverse array of babywearing technologies, and all of them are, by definition, being used by dads. Check them out:

Last things first, Axel Poignant's photo of a kid riding in a grape basket in, of all places, Australia:


Fritz Fenzel snapped this very clean side carrier in Germany. Notice how unwrinkled his jacket is:


Though he's not identified as such, this Ecuadoran dad in Federico Patellani's photo is a Tsáchila, a tribe better known by the Spanish name Colorados, because they mold their hair into bright red caps. Sounds pretty high maintenance, even moreso than that sling:


In the caption of John Everard's photo, this umbrella-toting dad from Luzon, Philippines is described as a headhunter. Which means he's Bontoc, the one Igorot group which actually practiced headhunting. If an OG like him can't figure out what to do with the extra 10' of fabric on the ends of the sling, who can?


My favorite photo, though, which I first saw uncredited in the Vitra Kid-Size exhibition catalogue, is Hilmar Pabel's shot of a Chinese dad with his biandan [shoulder pole]. Just awesome.


Not as cheap as ours, but mighty close: Check out Hanns Reich's Terra Magica books on AbeBooks [abebooks]
Previously: Hanns Reich's Children and Their Fathers and other titles


Here are two recent shots of my guy and baby

I love it. I especially love the grape basket shot.

Sure, mock me and my Maya wrap...

...dt and The Sartorialist have finally converged. About time, too.

[d'oh, I didn't even realize. that would've been a better headline... -ed.]

My husband wears our two-week-old on half of our daily walks, and he wore him out this weekend as we cruised through the hip part of town. He went into a coffee place without me and said he got a ton of comments. I tried to explain to him that there's nothing hotter than a guy wearing a baby.

daddy & son

(we use a Moby, btw)

Thank you for sharing this! I've been doing a little research about the history of babywearing in Europe and couldn't resist buying this book right after reading your post. In case you don't know it already, i'm sure you would also enjoy Bébés du monde.

Here's my baby's babywearing father.

This brings back so many great memories of early morning walks while wearing my daughter in a comfy sling! She rebels against them now. I love the one with the little hand poking around the dad's waist. So sweet!


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