KOLLEEN KU | DATE 7/21/2015
Last week, we rereleased Where Children Sleep, James Mollison's fascinating exploration of children's bedrooms, upbringings and livelihoods from around the world. An instant hit when first published in 2010, Where Children Sleep has been featured in the New York Times, the Telegraph, NPR and many others news sources, and has quickly sold out of multiple print runs. Now in its fifth printing, this volume is a must-have both for adult readers interested in photojournalism, and as an educational book for children to engage with other cultures from across the globe.
ABOVE: Ankôhet is eight years old and a member of the Kraho tribe. He lives in the Amazon basin, Brazil.
Photographed over two years with the support of Save the Children (Italy), Where Children Sleep features large-format photographs of children's bedrooms in the US, Mexico, Brazil, England, Italy, Israel and the West Bank, Kenya, Senegal, Lesotho, Nepal, China and India, alongside portraits of the children themselves. An accompanying caption also provides a closer look at the children's family background, habits, hobbies, and dreams. From Kaya in Tokyo, whose bedroom walls are filled to the brim with clothes and dolls; to Indira in Kathmandu, Nepal, who has worked at the local granite quarry since the age of three; and Juan David in Colombia, whose family was displaced from its hometown due to violence and now lives in a shantytown in Medellin; Where Children Sleep offers an intimate portrait of the differences and eccentricities of childhood, as well as a striking commentary on class and inequality. Scroll down for a selection of images and Mollison's own captions.
ABOVE: Kaya is four years old. She lives with her parents in a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan. Most apartments in Japan are small because land is very expensive to buy and there is such a large population to accommodate. Kaya's bedroom is every little girl's dream. It is lined from floor to ceiling with clothes and dolls. Kaya's mother makes all Kaya's dresses – up to three a month, usually. Now Kaya has thirty dresses and coats, thirty pairs of shoes, sandals and boots, and numerous wigs. (The pigtails in the picture are made from hairpieces.) Her friends love to come round to try on her clothes. When she goes to school, however, she has to wear a school uniform. Her favourite foods are meat, potatoes, strawberries, and peaches. She wants to be a cartoonist when she grows up, drawing Japanese 'anime' cartoons.
ABOVE: Indira lives with her parents, brother and sister near Kathmandu in Nepal. Her house has only one room, with one bed and one mattress. At bedtime, the children share the mattress on the floor. Indira is seven years old and has worked at the local granite quarry since she was three. The family is very poor so everyone has to work. There are 150 other children working at the quarry, some of whom will lose their sight because they do not have goggles to protect their eyes from stone splinters. Indira works five or six hours a day and then helps her mother with household chores such as cleaning and cooking. Her favorite food is noodles. She also attends school, which is thirty minutes' walk away. She does not mind working at the quarry but would prefer to be playing. She would like to be a Nepalese dancer when she grows up.
ABOVE: Eight-year-old Justin is passionate about sport, and his bedroom is decorated with a sports theme. He plays American football, basketball and baseball, and is active throughout the year, changing sports according to the season. During the football season he has to practice three times a week. This is his favourite sport. He has played for his local junior football team since the age of five. Justin's parents give him a lot of encouragement despite the expensive kit they have to provide for him. He goes to school on the school bus with other children from his neighbourhood. The family live in New Jersey, USA, in a four-bedroomed house, and they spend two weeks each summer on holiday on the Caribbean island of St Thomas. Justin has high expectations for his future. He would like to become the mayor of New Jersey. But if not, he would settle for being a poker player.
ABOVE: Dong is nine years old. He lives in the province of Yunnan in Southwest China, with his parents, sister and grandfather. He shares a room with his sister and parents. They are a poor family who own just enough land to grow their own rice and sugarcane. Dong's school is twenty minutes' walk away. He especially enjoys writing and singing. Most evenings, he spends one hour completing his homework and one hour watching television. His parents have to pay for his books and uniform but his tuition is free because he comes from a rural area. Dong's mother is pleased that her son can have an education, something she herself never had. Dong's favorite food is pork, sweets and ice cream, but the family also eat other meat, fish and vegetables. When he is older, Dong would like to be a policeman, because he'll be able to 'catch thieves and run around.'
ABOVE: Juan David is ten years old and lives in a shanty town with his parents in Medellin, Colombia. He and his family are 'internally displaced persons', having fled from their former home town, where the community is severely affected by violence caused by the drug trade. Juan David's family now live with poor access to basic services like schools or hospitals. Their main food is soncoya, a spiky fruit which grows locally. Juan David's small shack was built by his father. It sits on wooden stilts on a steep hill crammed with other shacks just like it. The prospects for work here are very limited and his father struggles to get casual jobs as a car repairman. The family would love to move to America. Juan David is able to go to school. He enjoys playing football and would like to be a doctor when he grows up.
Hbk, 9 x 11.25 in. / 120 pgs / 112 color.
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