Where Children Sleep
12th February 2013
As a child our bedrooms are the first places we can call our own. Whether they are shared with others or not, these are the spaces of our play and the keeper of our things. A refuge. And often the place where dreams are made.
James Mollison's book, "Where Children Sleep," had its origins in a project undertaken for a children's charity several years ago. As he considered how to represent children around the world, he wanted to avoid the common devices: pleading eyes, toothless smiles. When he visualized his own childhood, he realized that his bedroom said a lot about what sort of life he led. So he set out to find others.
Jasmine, 4, has participated in more than 100 child pagents. She lives in a large house in the Kentucky countryside.
A 4 year old from Romania who, with his family, sleeps on a mattress on the outskirts of Rome.
The book tells the diverse stories of children around the world through portraits and pictures of their bedroom.
Published in 2010, the book isn't new (and many might have seen it before), however, it is a beautiful reminder of the inequalities that the world often holds - especially for those so young.
Dong, 9, shares a room with his sister and parents in Yunnan Province, China.
Risa, 15, is training to be a geisha. She lives with 13 women in a teahouse in Kyoto, Japan.
The contrasts of daily life for the children who feature in the book are often stark - from Jaime, who Mollison photographed in his top-floor apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York, to Lehlohonolo who lived in Lesotho, in southern Africa. Jamie went to a highly sought after school and had a hectic schedule of after-school activities like judo, swimming lessons, cello and kickball; he also liked to study his finances on the Citibank website. Lehlohonolo lived with his three brothers, who were AIDS orphans. The boys lived in a mud hut where they slept together on the floor, cuddling up to each other for warmth during the freezing cold nights.
Jamie, 9, lives with his parents and 3 siblings on the top floor of an apartment on 5th Avenue.
Mollison hopes that the series of images gives a glimpse into the lives some children are living in very diverse situations around the world; and a chance to reflect on the inequality that exists, and realise just how lucky most of us in the developed world are.
Erien, 14, lives in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, where she slept on the floor until the later stages of her pregnancy.
Mollison was born in Kenya in 1973 and grew up in England. As an award-winning documentary photographer, his work has been widely published throughout the world including by Colors, The New York Times Magazine, the Guardian magazine, The Paris Review, GQ, New York Magazine and Le Monde.