In 2011 Zun Lee began photographing black fathers and their children in the Bronx and Harlem as well as in other urban areas (zunlee.com).

As Lee immersed himself in these families’ daily lives, he witnessed tender interactions that ran counter to stereotypes of black men as indifferent or absent fathers. Despite challenging financial and personal circumstances, the men Lee encountered were “loving, present, and responsible fathers,” he says, who worked hard to provide for and nurture their children.

For Lee, who is forty-nine, the project had personal resonance: He’d been raised in Germany by Korean parents. Then, in his thirties, he found out that his biological father was not the man who’d raised him but a black American. Lee had a fraught relationship with his Korean father, who’d been abusive to him. Though Lee never met his biological father, he was comforted by spending time with the men and children in his photographs.

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Jerell Willis, feeling overwhelmed, hides in his apartment’s bathroom. New York, New York, May 2013.

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Jebron Felder and his son Jae’shaun at home. Harlem, New York, September 2011.

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Guy Miller surveying the playground while bandaging his son Nijel’s injured arm. Harlem, New York, July 2013.

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Anthony Francis and his daughter, Tena, fall asleep in front of the living-room television. Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, January 2012.

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Jerell and Fidel Willis getting ready for bedtime. New York, New York, December 2013.

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A young father and his son (who didn’t give their names) waiting for the night bus near 125th St. and Lenox Ave. New York, New York, September 2011.

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Guy Miller and his daughter Lanae at home during some rare downtime. Bronx, New York, December 2012.