Johan Bävman



Johan Bävman (b. 1982) is a freelance photojournalist based in Malmö, Sweden. He combines his own photography projects with journalistic assignments around the globe. His work has been awarded by World Press Photo, POY, Sony Award, NPPA, UNICEF Photo Award, TT Photography Award and Picture of The Year (Sweden).

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Swedish Dads

Swedish Dads is based on a series of portraits of fathers who belong to that small percentage of fathers who choose to stay at home with their children for six months or longer. With this project, Johan Bävman wanted to find out what made these fathers stay at home so much longer than most of their peers.

What have they gained from this experience? In what way has the decision to take parental leave changed their relationship with their partner and their child? What expectations did they have before going on parental leave?

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the world. The current system allows parents to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days, while receiving an allowance from the state. Ninety days are earmarked for each parent, and cannot be transferred. The purpose of encouraging dads to take more parental leave is to promote gender equality. Despite a generous allowance, only a fraction of Sweden’s dads uses all of their allocated parental leave, and only fourteen per cent of parents split evenly.

Bävman has two aims for this photo project. Firstly, he wants to illustrate Sweden’s unique parental policy. Secondly, he wants to inspire other fathers – both in Sweden and further afield – to see positive benefits of taking a more active role in their young children’s lives.

He doesn’t want to glorify the fathers in this series. Instead, he seeks to engage in a debate about why these dads are considered special.