Edges of Dark: a newborn perspective
When something changes life’s course, there’s a clarity to seeing things the way newborns do. If you stop staring directly into something – no matter how dark it seems – and look for edges, you’ll always find light giving it contrast.

Series title:
Edges of Dark: a newborn perspective

Name of photographer:
MrCrosbay (Samuel Crosby)

Bio:
Mr Crosbay, based in north Cornwall, is a writer and visual artist whose work explores authentic connectivity, the tension between knowledge and feeling, head and heart. From ‘Body Voice’ and ‘The Lizard and the Philosopher’ to ‘The Anaesthetic of Manliness’ his stories span poetry, spoken word, short stories, photography and film.

His poetry has featured in exhibitions for Imperial War Museums, Bloomsbury Festival and The Wildlife Trusts. His recent collaborations include All Good Divorces, a print series under the guiding principal that nothing is finished and What if, six short films in in collaboration with Simon Cohen.

Series statement:
Newborns can’t see detail or colour. They’re drawn to contrast.

My son was born with a serious, unanticipated brain disorder. Since his birth, I photographed his point of view, matching focus distance and saturation to his developing eyesight.

The project gave me a deep, present-minded awareness of the patterns he fixated on – sharp lines of contrast – revealing its significance in the journey of trauma and growth for a parent-carer. From despair and utter emotional darkness, he showed me the light that it contrasted against.

Contact details:
[email protected]
07730 212293

Website URL:
www.samuelcrosby.com

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3
 

Month 4
 

Month 5

Month 6

More info:
Edges of Dark: a newborn perspective

At first, babies can’t really see colours. In their present-mindedness and sensitivity and wonder, they’re drawn to contrast: light against dark. And, in the first few weeks of life, they won’t focus further than their mother’s face from the breast. That’s a shorter distance than you’re probably reading this from.

So far so good
It is what it is
We’re muddling through

One of the first things you’re taught as a photographer is that your work should be in focus. That’s your job: images that are pin sharp.

So when my son’s birth changed my perspective on the world — and I started shooting from his point of view — that golden rule was first to go. I fixed the focus distance to match what the books told me he’d be seeing, increasing it and adding colour as he developed.

My boy, Patch, was born in Truro late in 2019. Patch suffered a severe brain developmental problem. His fight has meant we’ve spent more time in the hospital than most new families. I walked those same halls. Stalked the vending machines. Put on that half-smile we do when we want to be compassionate but can’t know if the strangers in the corridors are suffering or celebrating.

There is no darkness without light
There is no light without dark
It’s okay not to be okay

Patch might never talk, might never walk. But he’s taught us that not everything is as simple as black or white. Along with sorrow and grief, our situation has brought us indescribable happiness. Patch is a jolly little soul and, like most other babies, he fixates on light and contrast.

I started taking these photos to reflect the details he reacts to. From glints of light and the crook of his mother’s neck to the blue curtains that give patients security and privacy on the wards.

This series is for the extraordinary hospital staff who support us. And for you, the passerby. I’m glad it’s given you pause, whatever brings you to this moment.

When something changes your life course, there’s a clarity to seeing things the way babies do. After all, when you stop staring into something long enough and look for its edges, no matter how big or daunting, you’ll find there’s no darkness without light to give it contrast.