|While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. --Angela Schwindt|
Where Children Sleep: James Mollison’s Poignant Photographs--by Maria Popova, syndicated from brainpickings.org, Sep 09, 2011
What the Amazon rainforest has to do with the Kaisut Desert and Fifth Avenue luxury.
On the heels of this morning’s homage to where children read and learn comes a curious look at where they sleep. That’s exactly what Kenyan-born, English-raised, Venice-based documentary photographer James Mollison explores in Where Children Sleep — a remarkable series capturing the diversity of and, often, disparity between children’s lives around the world through portraits of their bedrooms. The project began on a brief to engage with children’s rights and morphed into a thoughtful meditation on poverty and privilege, its 56 images spanning from the stone quarries of Nepal to the farming provinces of China to the silver spoons of Fifth Avenue.
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. It seemed to make sense to photograph the children themselves, too, but separately from their bedrooms, using a neutral background.” ~ James Mollison
Perhaps most interestingly, the book was written and designed as an empathy tool for 9-to-13-year-olds to better understand the lives of other children around the world, but it is also very much a poignant photographic essay on human rights for the adult reader.
Where Children Sleep is reminiscent of Peter Menzels’s voyeuristic tours of the world through people’s diets and possessions, and JeongMee Yoon’s look at the conditioning of children’s gender identity through the color schemes of their bedrooms. The book’s glow-in-the-dark cover, a-la Radioactive, is a wonderfully playful cherry on top.
This article is reprinted with permission from the author, Maria Popova -- a cultural curator and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK, The Atlantic and Design Observer, and is the founder and editor in chief of Brain Pickings.
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