One of the hardest-hitting photographs in Diego Saldiva‘s series Break of Day depicts a stroller lying abandoned against a metal net, in the middle of the night. It is an eloquent metaphor of the photographer’s fear for the health of his prematurely born baby, as well as that of his wife.
While in the hospital to stand by the side of his family, Diego had a camera with himself, and kept shooting as a way to cope with the tension and the anxiety:
“In the summer of 2010 I was in a hospital room with my wife. In her seventh month of pregnancy, our child was born: a kilo of boy. The first scar appeared. We had to go to the underground to reach the operating room, lit by the most fluorescent lamps on the market. A dozen people dressed completely in green surrounded us, while some others opened her venter to remove an unfinished baby; with a kind of stapler, they tied her abdomen. After I took a picture.
Subsequently, other scars have appeared, this time on the child. A rare disease was diagnosed. Chemotherapy sessions during the following months were needed until the bone marrow transplantation. As for me, it was essential to shoot everything that was happening and I felt that photographing physical metamorphosis during this journey was a way to condense the feelings and absorb the meanings of these events.
Three environments are major in the series: the hospital, its surroundings and home, potentially representing different states of mind, between the upheaval, waiting, and the desire to escape. Outside the hospital, most of the shots were made during the night, the only “free time” that I had in the day. During this period I often went to used cars trade centres. I thought we would buy a car when all this would be over. I took pictures.”
— Diego Saldiva