The last time we chatted with photographer Isama Sawa, he was preparing for his first solo exhibition, Without Water. Now that the successful show is behind him, he’s looking forward to spending more time with his nine-month-old daughter, Hannah.
Broadsheet: What’s Hannah like?
IS: Hannah is our only child and she has brought us so much joy and happiness. She is cute, happy and playful, and can be a handful at times, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. She is half Japanese and half Polish but looks more “Asian” right now with deep brown eyes, olive complexion and big chubby cheeks. She does have physically large eyes, which she gets from my wife. She is particularly long and heavy for her age at almost 10 kilograms; we’re not sure where she gets that from.
BS: How do you manage to keep up with your workload as a new dad?
IS: My wife and I are lucky that we both run our own businesses. Basia is a florist (Basia Puchalski Floral Design) specialising in weddings and works from home. Her hours are very early, going to the market twice a week before dawn to buy flowers, so I can look after Hannah before I leave for work most days. Weddings are usually on the weekends so I try not to schedule shoots on Saturdays and Sundays now if I can help it. I have a computer set up at home now so I can come home and process files after a day’s shoot if I have to while keeping an eye on Hannah. I’ll have to teach her Photoshop soon so she can help with my workload.
BS: Is your social life different? How?
IS: It’s busier. Our social life schedule seems to revolve around Hannah right now with kids’ birthday parties and christenings at regular intervals. At one point we had bookings every weekend for two months! We still catch up with friends and family but obviously there is the usual cut off point when Hannah gets tired, but we take her everywhere; parties, pubs, restaurants … we try to take her out as much as possible so she gets used to being around unfamiliar environments and people.
BS: What’s one thing that’s surprised you about being a dad?
IS: I wasn’t sure how I’d feel having a baby in my life. I wasn’t really that “clucky” prior, but I am surprised how much I love having Hannah around and everyday I can’t wait to come home to see her cute smile and see her reaction when I say “daddy’s home”. I am basically besotted which I wasn’t expecting.
BS: Why is she in a brace at the moment?
IS: Hannah has an underdeveloped vertebra in her neck that needs to grow and develop so she needs the brace to stabilise her neck to allow it to heal. Luckily she is healthy and active otherwise.
BS: What do you do to make her laugh?
IS: She loves it when I rub my head on her tummy. Seems to work every time!
BS: What’s her biggest milestone so far?
IS: Saying “dada”! My wife is still waiting for “mama”.
BS: How are you spending Father’s Day?
IS: Not sure, but it will be memorable no matter what we do as a new family.