Earthmover Jesse Green has been an inspiration to everyone at Cat Footwear, and we hope you can find the same inspiration in his work he did for us in photographing the Father’s Day Gift Guide. At 26 years old, he lives in Detroit, Michigan, with his wife Cali and two kids Henry (4), and Penelope (2). Jesse loves his life in the city, and the community him and his family have found there.
A photographer working on mostly commercial and editorial campaigns, as well as weddings, this is his 10th year in business. “Each and every year has been better than the last,” Jesse says. “I’m absolutely blessed to be able to have the job I have, the flexibility I have, and the time with my family and traveling the country that it affords me. I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world. I get to document people at their highest triumphs, honing their ultimate craft, or on the happiest day of their lives. What more could a guy ask for?”
We chatted with Jesse Green to get a little behind the scenes look at his life, the creating of our Father’s Day Gift Guide and the awesome Earthmoving Dad’s that he got to work with.
How did you find all of our Earthmoving Dads you photographed? What makes them a great pick?
The two Michigan Dad’s (Josh and Gary) were existing friends of mine that I look up to for being ridiculously good at what they do; but also for being unbelievably inspiring Dad’s in the process. They both have worked so hard to get to where they are (Gary running an extremely successful business in Traverse City, and Josh a creative director/worship director at a large church outside of Detroit) and they do it while loving people and being generally awesome humans and fathers to their kids. Alan was a referral from a dear friend and former bride of mine and I’m so glad she gave me his name. He’s a video editor that lives in Jersey City with his 3 adorable kids and amazing wife, and works in Manhattan on impressive projects. His story was inspiring, but what was more exciting was watching him interact, play, and just live life with his kids for those short couple of hours I was with him. Photographing someone (especially 10 years into my career), I can really see their true heart. You can tell when something is an act for the camera and when something is true to the core of their being. All three of these Dad’s are raising their little ones with passion and intentionality, and it was amazing to witness.
Any high points or behind the scenes stories?
I photographed Gary and his kids inside the first home they bought when they came to Northern Michigan a few years back from NYC, to eventually open The Little Fleet. It’s an amazing little farmhouse they’ve completely renovated from top to bottom, that sits on Old Mission Peninsula. They live in this home in the summer (and live in town through the school year) to escape the craziness of a tourist town during the summer, and live on the beach and in the woods with their clan.
Josh I photographed at home and in his element with his family. Backyard bonfires, firing up his vintage Honda motorcycle that he restored from top to bottom, and evening walks around the neighborhood.
With Alan it was a morning stroll through the gorgeous streets of Jersey City. Urban, but with flowers blooming everywhere you looked, his family was just plain happy there. They had their place, their people, their favorite shops and parks and neighbors in every direction that they looked forward to seeing on those morning walks. It was familiar and it was perfect.
What drives you to work hard for your kids and family? Do you think sharing your passions with them is important?
Everything comes back to them, every last thing. If I was still a single guy without a wife or kids, I very firmly believe I wouldn’t have done half the things I’ve gotten the pleasure of doing. They drive me, they make me want to be a better man and work harder (and smarter). It’s not just providing for them, but showing them that a life doesn’t have to be ordinary. There can be days where I up and decide to take the day off, or take a morning slow and walk the neighborhood with them; and then there’s going to be days where I’m gone on a shoot in another state, or at a wedding for 12 hours. But I want them to look back on my life and legacy and see how hard I fought for this dream for all of us, all while attempting to stay grounded and live and breathe in every moment I possibly can with them.
What’s your favorite quality about yourself as a dad?
Hard work, but attention to time spent. I know I can’t get these years with them back. There’s nothing more important to me than making my kids feel valued and loved. Whether I’m working, or whether I’m at home. It’s a super tough balance being a Dad sometimes in that regard. The everlasting wrestle between being a provider, and being a good Dad that is investing in his kids. It’s a battle I choose to fight every day though, because they’re worth it.