UK-based photographer Sean Newton celebrates young black fatherhood in his intimate series documenting new father and role model Rory Edwards. Rory spends the majority of his time immersing himself in nature with his gorgeous newborn, Esmai, as he understands the magnitude that Mother Earth can have on the human race. So where better to document this young family than on their wholesome journey around the beautiful Malvern Hills in northern Gloucestershire, featuring dogs Benji and Boo!
Maisie Daniels: Young black fathers aren't given the same light as their other fellow dads, why do you think this is? Rory Edwards: Stigma has a large play in the whole perspective, there are systemic issues within black fatherhood that can cause knock on effects to the following generations of young black fathers...
M.D: Can you talk us through any struggles that you have faced being a young, black father? R.E: The general assumption that we as black fathers won’t succeed can be an inner battle with your self awareness. Not because there’s truth behind it, more cause if you absorb people’s doubt it can create a failing mentality. Ignoring that for me is the biggest struggle, but easily over powered by my child’s happiness and progression.
M.D: What do you think needs to be done in order to change this mentality? R.E: It’s circumstantial some dads may want to see and be part of raising their child but can’t or have to jump through legal hoops just to see them, let alone prove they're a good parent.
This is an issue all races deal with my friend who’s a white father has created a charity for issues like this called Dads Reunited and still has issues seeing his child now. So long as we’re able to control our own narratives and people actively re-enforce when they see positive parenting from black fathers it will get better. Working on ourselves first.
M.D: You are such a strong role model, do you have any tips for soon-to-be / new fathers? R.E: PRIORITISE happiness.
Value and absorb time with your children, currencies and materialism can be replaced, time cannot. If you don’t already! Create a healthy bond with your partner, do not let your relationship with them prevent you from growing with your children. I’m blessed and haven’t had to experience this but can imagine the difficulties it would cause if it wasn’t.
M.D: What would be the best advice that you can give to your newborn? R.E: Our bodies are our vehicles, our minds are the keys and our soul is the fuel. Drive safely!
M.D: Who/ what is your biggest inspiration in life and why? R.E: Creative freedom or people that represent that train of thought motivates me, I feel inspired by seeing innovation with Music, Art, Dance, Craft, Comedy, Acting, Design etc. Knowing and understanding the word 'subjective' helps unleash that freedom. (There is no right or wrong) When someone has locked in to their chosen path, spent time on their raw ideas and created skills while doing it you can’t not feel inspired.
MD: What did you want to be when you grew up? R.E: A Fire Fighter.
MD: You immerse yourself in nature with your newborn, why is this? What is it about nature that you like the most? R.E: Me and my partner are the same, we believe sensory values with nature are uncontested. There's no better way to stimulate your child’s brain and yours than to be out in nature. understanding our environment is important too.
M.D: What is the biggest change that you would like to see in the world? R.E: Climate change as common as that sounds. If shit don’t change the world won’t be seen at all.
M.D: Can you complete the sentence: Fatherhood is... R.E: My currency, I am rich!
MD: What's your favourite F - word? R.E: Fajitas [laughs] (big foodie!)