Friday, August 12, 2011

Where Children Sleep by James Mollison

A good friend brought the following story to my attention this morning.  The piece is wonderfully done, the book I want to buy now to review and show my own boys and perhaps buy a few extra for my daycare/preschool, Little Sprouts Day School, to show the older children.

While some of the photographs are sad, the photography is just amazing.  This book was an undertaking for a charity for needy children but Mr. Mollison didn't want to show the same stereotypical photos you see on tv or magazines.  I think this book is a marvelously novel way to showcase the different cultures that engulf our children around the world.  Where Children Sleep

Without further adue... here is the New York Times' story - don't forget to click on the link to see the wonderful photography.


August 4, 2011, 5:00 am

‘Where Children Sleep’

It was a small room, at the top of the house. For a time, it was home to tropical fish. Later, two pet mice slept there, in a home made of fruit crates. The walls of the room were covered with posters of Madonna and Duran Duran. Then it was the Rolling Stones. Then Jimi Hendrix.

This was the childhood bedroom in Oxford, England, of James Mollison, 37, a documentary photographer who was born in Kenya and now lives in Venice. He had the luxury as a boy of adapting his bedroom to reflect his changing interests.

“As a child, that’s your little space within the house,” Mr. Mollison said.

James Mollison Kaya, 4, lives with her parents in a small Tokyo apartment.  Kaya’s bedroom.
Mr. Mollison’s new 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 needy 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.

His subjects came from Boy Scout troops and sumo wrestling clubs. They were introduced through friends of friends. Mr. Mollison posed his young subjects — more than 200 of them — in front of blank white backgrounds for their portraits, leaving their bedrooms to do the talking. More than 50 pairings are in the book, which has a glow-in-the-dark cover (a nod to the glow-in-the-dark stars on so many childhood ceilings).

As much as the project is about the quirkiness of childhood, it is, more strikingly, a commentary on class and on poverty. But the diversity also provides a sense of togetherness.
Everybody sleeps. And eventually, everybody grows up.

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