The projects shining a light on single parent households

New photography tasks by Polly Braden and Harry Borden celebrate the complexity and charm of being a single moms and dad

Single mother Jana, with her kids Isaac and Yaana. Image: Polly Braden.

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In a book released this spring, picture photographer Harry Borden– himself an apart father with four kids– reveals the inflammation and vulnerabilities of 48 single dads. Each has actually suffered a loss of some kind and has actually struggled to adjust to being the primary carer, but with the help of their kids they have found a renewed sense of function.

UK project group Single Parent Rights recently launched a report that discovered 80 per cent of single parents had experienced some kind of discrimination, with almost 60 percent experiencing employment discrimination.

A new photo exhibition by Polly Braden, Holding the Baby, intends to reveal what life resembles for single parents of both genders. It showcases “the imagination, determination and pride of single-parent households; special bonds between parent and child, forged by liberty, love, experience– and exhaustion,” read a review in The Guardian.

The exhibit features stories such as Janas: a mum-of-two who left an arranged marital relationship with her 2 kids. “Two years back, if somebody had told me I d be living in London by myself, taking care of my kids by myself, and had a place at university, I would have never ever thought it.” Ive had some terrific, thoughtful employers, however not always,” said Young, the single father in Harry Bordens portrait. In Youngs childrens favourite movie, My Neighbour Totoro, the mom is in medical facility and there is a sense she might not come back. Young described the films profusion of surreal, wild charm as a reaction to unthinkable loss.

The image of the single papa is often misshaped by obsolete ideas of masculinity: the strong and resistant backbone of the family, the working dad, the mentally remote daddy.

In Youngs kidss preferred film, My Neighbour Totoro, the mother is in hospital and there is a sense she might not come back. Young explained the movies profusion of surreal, wild appeal as a reaction to unimaginable loss. “Its a pointer that there is still appeal and delight in this world, waiting for you,” he said.


Holding the Baby will show at the Museum of Home in London from 12 June to 29 August 2021, followed by the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool and Bristols Arnolfini. Single Dad by Harry Borden is offered now, published by Hoxton Mini Press.

In the photo above, Neil Young is imagined with his children Kiwa and Ngaire. He ended up being a solo parent when his partner, Jeng, passed away in 2015.


While research study around the experiences of single moms and dad families does not typically make for uplifting reading, Ruth Talbot, creator of Single Parents Rights, sees the pandemic as a turning point in breaking down the barriers they face.

On Single Parents Day in March, a day of recognition that was freshly minted in 2020, the group wrote an open letter to the Equalities minister Liz Truss, requesting “an immediate conference to go over the ongoing discrimination single moms and dads face”. Furthermore, their report was welcomed by Caroline Noakes, the chair of the Commons females and equalities choose committee.

” I made it through the first two years on adrenaline and bloody- mindedness,” Young stated. “I kept getting floored but I d get up once again, although a voice stated: Stay down, youre beat!”.

Main image: Harry Borden.

Get fortunately feeling.

” Ive had some fantastic, thoughtful employers, but not constantly,” said Young, the single daddy in Harry Bordens portrait. “In the office, you fret that you will be seen as weak if you let on that youre refraining from doing so well. It doesnt suggest youre no longer capable of doing excellent work; its simply that you need a little assistance and understanding.”.

One of the reports key recommendations is to include single parents to the Equality Act as a secured particular, something supported by 96 percent of the 1,083 single moms and dads they surveyed. It also makes recommendations to take on discrimination, such as making flexible working the default in all jobs.

The pandemic has actually been challenging for parents in basic, however for single parents, its been near on impossible. While Bordens book casts light on single fathers, approximately 90 per cent of single moms and dad homes are directed by women.

While campaigners continue to eye equal rights, making the lives of single moms and dads more visible through art jobs must go some way towards increasing awareness, not least compassion.

The exhibit includes stories such as Janas: a mum-of-two who left a set up marital relationship with her 2 kids. “I took Yaanas automobile seat, milk bottle and some of their clothing, and called a taxi at one in the morning,” she stated. “Two years earlier, if someone had informed me I d be residing in London by myself, looking after my children by myself, and belonged at university, I would have never ever believed it. My old self would have never ever acknowledged who I am today.”

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