We are thrilled to introduce our next Hip Daddy Spotlight. Recently named one of the Top 50 Photographers to follow on Instagram, Jesse Burke is a photographer, a film maker, and most of all, a Dad. Jesse creates amazingly beautiful pieces of art via the camera. And even better, it’s all about his kids. His film, Wild and Precious, will likely make you cry and wish you had done that for your own child or inspire you to do exactly that. Enjoy Jesse…
Tell us about your kids. What’s it like being a Dad?
Well let’s see, I have three daughters, Clover Lee (11), Poppy Dee (6), and Honey Bee (4.) They keep me very busy, haha. We have an amazing time out exploring nature and at our house, we have a small farm like Eden over in Barrington, RI. The girls are often really busy hanging out with their chickens or rabbit, Pancake. We spend a ton of time outside getting in touch with with the New England landscape and all of the critters it contains. We live across from the beach so the girls are always exploring the seaside. We are a very adventurous bunch. I guess my wife and I instilled that in them starting at an early age. We’ve always been a ‘nature family’, meaning connected to nature in some way whether that be physically or emotionally. We spend a lot of time birding and road tripping around New England (or farther when we get a chance.) The girls are true free spirits in every sense of the phrase. I love being a dad and the girls have taught me how enriching this relationship can be. It truly is a learning experience on both ends every single day. If I’m not teaching them something they are certainly teaching me. The best lesson I ever learned from my girls was that of patience, or at least trying to understand what patience might be. I tend to be a pretty impatient person but having three girls, and being an artist who has his own personal art agenda, I have had to come to understand what the word patience means in a very real way. And I thank them for this gift. Overall, I would say our family vibe is very fun energetic and we are never sitting still. This is evident on our Instagram feed.
We absolutely love your film, Wild and Precious. Tell us more!
Wild & Precious started out as a photo project that I embarked upon with my daughter Clover, who was about five when we first went out. I knew that once I had a child it was really important for me to instill in her very deep and personal connection to the earth and all animals. So I decided to start taking her out on road trips to give her a first-hand experience of what it was like out in the wild. We spent five years documenting this process and the outcome is a book and short film (along with gallery/ museum exhibitions that include the photos and nature treasures we collected out on the road and a small run clothing line.) I needed the film to have the same impact that the photographs would, so we labored over how to make that translate into motion. I hired an amazing couple of DP’s and we went for it. It was my first time making a film. Also, I wrote my daughter a letter which served as the introduction to my book and became the voiceover for the film. The film is meant to take one on an emotional ride through a child’s mind and what it would be like to go on the adventures with us. We wanted you to come on the road, in the fields, and in the water with us so we had to do that with motion and making a film seem like the most logical way to do it. We’re thrilled with the results.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without as a Dad?
My wife! Truly I wouldn’t be able to make it as a photographer or dad without my wife. That and a decent car to get us around. The practical side of being a dad is really a big deal in my life. Isn’t it for all dads? Having the support of my wife to go out on these roads trips and take time off from work, and take the kids out of school, is really important to me. The end result is Wild & Precious. But in all honesty, having a good car to get around with enough space and durability to do what we need to do is crucial. It’s not uncommon for us to drive 10 miles down a dirt road into the middle of nowhere just to explore and take photos so we need a proper vehicle, and a good camera. Oh wait, did I mention patience?! Yeah, the one thing I can’t live without as a dad is patience. 🙂