‘Where Children Sleep’: Powerful Photos Of Bedrooms You Won’t Want To Miss

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I recently stumbled upon this series of photographs by 37-year-old documentary photographer James Mollison. Rarely have I seen anything so powerful – and humbling.

The photos, which appear in Mollison’s latest book, Where Children Sleep, feature portraits of children and their bedrooms from around the globe. What’s so striking is the diverse range of subjects, from a four-year-old beauty pageant in a large Kentucky home to an eight-year-old Kraho tribe member living in the Amazon basin in Brazil all the way to a Tokyo-based champion sumo wrestler.

Mollison was born in Kenya, raised in England and he currently lives with his wife in England. As he explains on his website, he got the idea for this project when Fabrica – Benetton’s “communications research center” – asked him to come up with an idea for engaging with children’s rights. Says Mollison:

I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was. It occurred to me that a way to address some of the complex situations and social issues affecting children would be to look at the bedrooms of children in all kinds of different circumstances. From the start, I didn’t want it just to be about ‘needy children’ in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations.

The result is a striking series of more than 50 photographs that depict a range of childhoods – some happy, some absolutely heart-wrenching. It’s amazing to see how much a simple bedroom – or, in some cases, a mere hut – can reveal about a person’s life. Yes, it’s cliché, but the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” saying has never been more true. Click here to see the range of Mollison’s work.