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Swedish Dads - Photographs by Johan Bävman

Mar 28, 2020 to Jul 05, 2020

Swedish Dads - Photographs by Johan Bävman

With this project, I want to find out why these men have chosen to stay at home so much longer than the majority of Swedish dads. What has it done for them, how have their relationships with their partner and their child changed, and what expectations did they have before taking parental leave? - Johan Bävman, photographer

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world, enabling parents to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days, while receiving an allowance from the state. Couples are required to split their parental leave; ninety days are allotted to each parent, fathers as well as mothers.

In some cases, it’s frowned upon for fathers to not take their share of leave, in contrast to many other Western countries. While it’s becoming more common to see "latte dads" out and about, alone with their children, in spite of this unique policy, only a fraction of Sweden’s fathers use all their parental leave. Only 14% of parents choose to share the days equally.

This photo essay by Johan Bävman includes portraits of dads who belong to that small percentage who choose to stay at home with their child for at least six months. The images have been exhibited around the world, not only sharing information about Sweden’s unique parental system, but perhaps inspiring other fathers to consider the benefits.

The 15 images featured here come to ASI from the Swedish Embassy.

Check out more of Johan’s work on his website or buy his book Swedish Dads, available in the ASI Museum store. Here is an additional article by Business Insider.


Johan Bävman (b. 1982), based in Malmö, Sweden, combines his own long-term projects with freelance assignments from different clients worldwide. He has previously published the photobook AlbinoIn the shadow of the sun (2009). The project Swedish Dads has had a tremendous impact and has been published/shared widely all over the world.

Between the years 2008 and 2011, Johan Bävman worked as a staff photographer at Sydsvenskan, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden. He graduated from Nordens Fotoskola, Stockholm 2007. He was previously a member of Moment Agency (2007–2015). 

Johan Bävman has won several awards, including the World Press Photo, POY, Sony Award, NPPA, UNICEF Photo Award.

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