I came across a review in the Dutch newspaper NRC of a really special book. I watched it on the web, and just couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Author: James Mollison is Kenyan-born, English-raised, Venice-based documentary photographer. In his book Where Children Sleep he explores a remarkable diversity and disparity between childrens living around the world. He photograped their portraits and put them next to the pictures of their bedrooms. It took him over two years, travelling between the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, England, Italy, Israel and the West Bank, Kenya, Senegal, Lesotho, Nepal, China and India.
“The project became a vehicle to think about poverty and wealth, about the relationship of children to their possessions, and the power of children – or lack of it – to make decisions about their lives.”
Indira, 7, 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 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. Indira works six hours a day and then helps her mother with household chores. She also attends school, 30 minutes' walk away. Her favourite food is noodles. She would like to be a dancer when she grows up.
Jamie, 9, lives with his parents and younger twins brother and sister in a penthouse on 5th Avenue, New York. Jamie goes to a prestigious school and is a good student. In his spare time he takes judo and goes for a swim. He loves to study finance. When he grows up, he wants to become a lawyer like his father.
Lamine (above), 12, lives in Senegal. He is a pupil at the village Koranic school, where no girls are allowed. He shares a room with several other boys. The beds are basic, some supported by bricks for legs. At six every morning the boys begin work on the school farm, where they learn how to dig, harvest maize and plough the fields using donkeys. In the afternoon they study the Koran. In his free time Lamine likes to play football with his friends.
Jasmine ("Jazzy"), 4, lives in a big house in Kentucky, USA, with her parents and three brothers. Her house is in the countryside, surrounded by farmland. Her bedroom is full of crowns and sashes that she has won in beauty pageants. She has entered more than 100 competitions. Her spare time is taken up with rehearsal. She practices her stage routines every day with a trainer. Jazzy would like to be a rock star when she grows up.
NRC review here/ nrc.nl/nieuws/2011/08/12/