Choosing Fatherhood

America’s Second Chance

Lewis Kostiner

Absentee fathers has been identified as American's most pressing problem by the Brookings Institute, because nearly every social ill finds its roots in fatherless homes. Choosing Fatherhood explores this issue through the art of photography in which Lewis Kostiner creates portraits of dads who are involved in their children's lives.
Date Published :
November 2012
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781938086052

Stock Status : In stock


Families come in all sizes, shapes, and traditions, each a unique variation of a universal human theme. Whether one comes from a heterosexual, single-sex, or one-parent home, stability and love are paramount. Unfortunately, in the United States, the absence of fathers from their children’s lives has become a real problem. In fact, the Brookings Institute has identified absentee fathers as America's most pressing problem—greater than the economy, education, the environment, health care, infrastructure, you name it. Why? Because nearly every social ill finds an umbrella, a home if you will, in the fatherless home.

Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance is meant to explore this issue as no previous book has. And it does so through the art of photography, in which Lewis Kostiner makes portraits of dads who are involved in their children's lives. The book is also accompanied by essays written by leading authorities on the subject: Juan Williams of FOX News, David Travis who was Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago for more than thirty-five years, sociologist Shipra Parikh at Loyola University in Chicago, sociologist Derrick M. Bryan at the Morehouse College, and Roland Warren, former director of the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing fatherhood in America, who also served on President Obama's task force on fatherless homes.

Getting fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives is of paramount importance, if the United States is to regain ground as an international leader. Right now, the statistics look grim: forty years ago only eleven percent of America's children lived in homes without fathers, but today more than a third do. This translates into high poverty rates, high drop-out rates in high school, high rates of incarceration, multiple behavioral problems, and the list goes on.

As President Obama has declared, fatherhood does not begin with the ecstasy of conception but with the beauty of childbirth and the responsibilities that come with creating and caring for a human life. Although changes in custody rulings and other policy remedies are possible, behavioral patterns are often outside the reach of policy. Choosing Fatherhood offers a hopeful direction that America does have a second chance at correcting a troubling trend, but time is slipping, and awareness of the problem is an important start.

(See the publishers website for further information about events and a slide show from the book: ) Go here to see an interview with the photographer Lewis Kostiner and Juan Williams who wrote the introduction:

About The Author

Lewis Kostiner was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada, in 1950 and was raised in Montréal before his family moved to Westbury, Long Island, in 1962. He earned his B.A. in liberal arts, with an emphasis in photography and creative writing, at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, and Emmit Gowen. He completed his M.S. in photography at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he studied with Arthur Siegel, Garry Winogrand, and Geoff Winningham. After he left Brown, he assisted Aaron Siskind for many years and traveled with him worldwide. From 1973 to 1981 he was an adjunct professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago, and he is currently a faculty member in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His photographs are in the permanent collections of, and have been exhibited at, the Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Creative Photography, Museum of Contemporary Photography, and Museum of Modern Art, among many others. Lewis is married to Anne Neri Kostiner, and they have two daughters, Rickie and Tess.


"Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance with photos by Lewis Kostiner is a beautiful, large format, full color book of poignant photographs and essays about fatherhood in America. Since World War II the number of fatherless children in the United States has risen from 11 percent to over one third, and it is wreeking havoc and grief in almost every sector of this country. According to the heart-stopping essays by several renowned authors, the absence of fathers in the home is the root cause of the huge increase of poverty, drop-out rates of schools, incarceration, behavioral problems, child abuse, and feelings of abandonment for more than 24 million children today. The book, presented by The National Fatherhood Initiative Organization, is a very important one, and its message offers ways to educate men about the responsibilities and delights and rewards of being present as their children grow up. Get this book for your library!"

- Bonnie Neely, Real Travel Adventures

Kostiner is a Chicago-based photographer who became involved with the National Fatherhood Initiative, travelled to community-based NFI programs, and met with and photographed fathers and children. This volume presents his photos full page in an elegant volume (oversize: 10" x 11") with thorough narrative captioning. Also included are essays by journalist Juan Williams; the former president of NFI, Roland C. Warren; the retired curator of photography of the Art Institute of Chicago, David Travis; Shipra S. Parkih, a psychotherapist from Chicago); and Derrick M. Bryan (Sociology, Morehouse College). They write about the importance of fathers and fatherhood and doing it well and offer suggestions for readings and viewings.

- Book News, Inc.

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