Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Marlon: A Brooklyn cat, that goes by the name of Marlon Cole. I am the founder of forFATHERSproject.org and Editor-in-Chief of publication, 4FATHERS photo journal. Both this project and journal allows me to share my experiences as a father through visual aids such as photography, film and all other artistic mediums. It also provides as a platform for active fathers to share and obtain inspiration.
Alvin: Pick any man in the world, who would be the most influential to you and why?
Marlon: I would have to say that man would be my father, Valance Cole. This man is a true inspiration. It’s quite interesting how I can feel that he is despite all of the circumstances, one being his incarceration for a murder he has not committed. He is serving a life sentence and has already done over two decades in prison. But with the time my father has spent behind bars, he continues to fight for his innocents, he has taken time to better himself and to achieve more on the inside than he did out. This man has the spirit of a warrior, he is a warrior and what’s inside him is inside my son and me and I am honored to have this man as my father.
Alvin: What do you wish to accomplish 1 year from today?
Marlon: One year from today I will be around my son more than I am today. It’s been a struggle and a learning experience being a father. There has been miscommunication between his mother and I, this have left much room for chaos to intervene and to sway us both from truly understanding eachother. All things have happened for a reason and it has made me more mindful and open for change. One year from today I will be operating my business on a full time level.
Alvin: What inspired you to do the forFATHERS project?
Marlon: Mamello-Ahulani Theo Cole, that’s my sun(son), he has inspired the birth of forFATHERS project. I wanted to document our interactions through photography, this would ultimately bring smiles to both of our faces; Mello loves seeing himself in pictures. I would then upload the photos to my personal Myspace and Flickr accounts and would receive feedback and comments from fathers who were inspired. I reached out to a photography friend of mines, Steven Duarte, we spoke about the idea of me creating a project out of the concept of taking photographs between father and child. From that discussion the name forFATHERS spoke to whom the project is for directly and we began shooting. I was very impressed with the type of images that were being documented, that I felt that this project needed complete branding, so I created a logo and designed the projects website. While being inspired by the journal format of the site I then decided to create 4FATHERS photo journal, which serves as another outlet for showcasing and featuring all things related to fatherhood.
Alvin: What has been your largest step to manhood?
Marlon: Learning to let things be. We have the power to choose, but we don’t have the power to control things. This has been my largest step to manhood, knowing that what is out of your control, you must humble yourself and be conscious of what is happening at that moment. I have also learned to let go, this has been a challenge, but I’ve recognized a change in me.
Alvin: What has been the best advice you received about being a man?
Marlon: I’ve received much advice from people all over the world, both indirectly and directly. One that comes to mind, is to be honest with yourself.