Where Children Sleep: A Diverse World of Homes

When photographer James Mollison was asked to do a project on children’s rights, he found himself thinking back to his childhood bedroom and the deep importance it played in his upbringing. Taking that idea with him around the world, he photographed a diverse cross section of children and the bedrooms they call home. His moving images remove the children from their home environment, showing them before a neutral background that mostly hides their economic status as if to say “kids are just kids.” Only when their bedroom is observed, however, does the full scope of their living situation become poiniently clear. Where Children Sleep, a beautiful hardcover book featuring 112 color photographs is now available from chrisboot.com.

where children sleep

If you enjoyed these photographs, you might also enjoy our post “Slumdog Photographer of the Decade

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where children sleep
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where children sleep
where children sleep
where children sleep
where children sleep
where children sleep

Via: fubiz.net

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  • does it matter?

    I don’t which is worse.. the poor underpriveleged kids or the spoiled brats the “well to do” are raising.

    @tony: I don’t see any assault rifles.. the only gun appears to be the shotgun wielding neo-con junior camo appreciation society member (and probable school a-hole) at #8

  • Smokin Mama

    I love these photos!

    What a brilliant recording of human survival!!

    Honest…. confronting and sometimes sad.

    Its interesting too because the child pictured above who’s in a room full of dolls, seems a little disturbing to me, because of the contrast with those children who have very little.

    Imagination blooms with those who have less.
    Having room to create, builds dreams.

  • Alam DeScopio

    I like how the narrative remains untold.

  • I like this web blog very much, Its a very nice post to read and receive information.

  • Lujain

    The photos here are very good and incredibly moving.

  • EmoElmo

    i feel so sorry for that lil’ boy who’s bed is outside… i also feel sorry for those children less fortunate than me

  • Nehmo

    The most interesting to me is the comments. I was under the impression that the audience of the internet had evolved since the early days. Back then, they were mostly sheltered westerners with enough money to splurge on a computer. Consequently, their opinions were narrowly based on the background of that group. I had thought the internet had expanded to include the rest of the world. Well, there’s not much evidence of the expansion in the comments of this page.
    Most of the world is poor. You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, and pictures demonstrating that reveal nothing new.

    `~- Nehmo

  • I don’t know which photo is the saddest, the one of the boy who sleeps on a mattress out in the open, or the asian girl in the horribly expensive doll dress who sleeps in a horribly expensive room filled to the rafters with horribly expensive toys. (Talk about the crassest and most vulgar of new money!)

  • Breathtaking and eye-opening.

  • Becca

    It’s great to see both sides of the spectrum here. The rich kids’ rooms are just as moving as the poor, through the consumerism. I hope it gives people a better idea of balance.

  • Laura

    This is truly heartbreaking and as a 16 year old kid myself its devastating to see other younger children living like this because I could never. I spent some time in Peru this march break so Ive seen poverty first hand and this is just another reminder that there are many struggling abused mothers and children who shouldn’t have to live like this! and the picture of the boy in the hat and the red jacket living on a mattress reminds you that it happens everywhere not just in poverty stricken areas. and I like that you also included pictures of kids who don’t live in poverty because it makes a greater impact. Great job on the photos they are an amazing and inspiring reminder to us all!!

  • jada

    wow. this just changed my life forever.

  • Nasu Wo

    Technically it is excellent but conceptually it just encourages some old prejudices, it is too pretentious, too obvious and therefore false.

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  • The photographs in terms of art, color and light are beautiful. The message is controversial at best to many. It appeals to the heart. Beautiful photography that is definitely a conversation piece.

  • Kristina

    I think the pictures are stunning. He obviously didn’t intend to truly show kids are just kids in the blank background photos. Otherwise he would have made them put down their rifles, bags of trash, and take of the ridiculous makeup. Nicely done, very moving.

  • Abi

    Set up. Although I believe that a lot of children sleep in bad places and such, I highly doubt that they have political posters in their rooms. So next time please take pictures or real rooms not the ones you think the audience will find interesting.

  • Ariel

    Can I just adopt all these children?…
    Especially the little white boy whose bedroom a mattress on a field..

  • Syl

    I think those pics are the most amazing I’ve seen in the last years. Photography is indeed a social science.

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  • Jarmi

    Of my opinion, chidren must live in not very rich also not very poor home. And they need good people, see them everywhere, after they can be once also good people. When it will ?

  • rebbeca480

    sad but somewhat cool… *sigh* human life is very unpredictable…

  • buggsy2

    It’s a good idea but somehow the photos don’t live up to the topic. Especially the photos of the rooms: they should be bigger (to show more detail) and should have been shot in High Dynamic Range.

  • dona

    I think there are a lot of assumptions being made in the interpretation of these photos. I think the expressions on the childrens faces contribute to that. The boy with the mattress outside looks sad so we assume he is homeless and sleeps out in a field somewhere. I have 2 sons and when they were young they spent almost the entire summer sleeping in a tent in the backyard in sleeping bags. They had most all their worldly possessions at the time, in that tent. What I’m saying is, if this boy had been smiling or laughing would you have interpreted the photo as a negative? People are basing their opinions on what they consider a good home-some of these children may be living in the very best home in their particular village/town and be considered rich by their peers. Finally-where you sleep does not appear to translate to happiness for some of these children. I’m looking at picture 5,6 and the last one where the rooms are at least clean and look relatively comfortable. The expressions don’t look any happier then the children living in a hut.

  • lola

    The entire book is available at this link:


    It really is an eye-opener.

  • Picazza

    I think the child who is the plaything of her over indulgent, while still possibly well intentioned parents, and the show pony with all the trophies and ribbons from pageants are as sad as the underpriveldged children. Just because a child is poor doesn’t mean they are unhappy. If poverty is all you and everyone around you know, you make your own happiness in what is around you and don’t know what you are missing. A flower will grow between the cracks in a sidewalk, just the same as it will in a garden if given the chance. Just the same, a child may have everything a parent can buy, but without good healthy attention and positive influences it will not be a happy child.

  • Darlin’

    I love how he took the children out of their environment and put them in front of a grey backdrop. If grouped together, it would make it much more difficult to discern which type of background they were coming from- save for a few due to clothing and “props”. Especially with the homeless boy. I bet no one would ever suspect that boy was homeless just by seeing him on the street. And it holds true for many young children in our society today. Everybody knows that poverty and homelessness are big problems in our society, but hardly anyone ever takes notice it when it walks right in front of them. And I don’t think that it is “sad” that some of these children are spoiled so much… good for them. I just think it’s a shame that they will never learn to truly appreciate just how lucky they are to have been born into privilege. But overall very well-done work. I will definitely be checking out his book and possibly buying it for my sister, who is very involved with these sort of issues. 🙂

  • Snazzy

    Geez…. deep!! really touched

  • i love all these pics and they’re just so cool… they are amazing

  • motherpenis

    – Oh my. These pictures evoke emotions, extremely humbling… Eye candy in places.. Puzzling eesh

  • Haydukelives

    As someone who willingly sleeps outside in a tent for weeks on end and cooking over a fire for my own enjoyment these pictures are far from humbling. Anyone who didn’t realize people live like this is very ignorant of the world around them. We’ve got the money to live as we do in the West and should live as we wish to do. Do we need everything we have? Absolutely not, but if we go by what we need then we can go back to living in caves, everything since then including the conditions these children live in at one point in time would have been considered luxurious.

  • Fascinating work. Just as interesting are the responses. The person who criticizes the photographer for a poster, the one who doesn’t buy the message?, and the one who feels this is too obvious and therefore false. I don’t find that comment logical.
    I think many will take different impressions away from this. I find it fascinating, beautiful and sad.

  • Haley

    These pictures make me unbevievably sad. Yeah, I already knew people lived like this, but its a different thing actually seeing it.
    I do have to say though to all who say that the West doesnt deal with these problems. I think that’s false. There are many homeless and starving families in the West. They are just, unfortunately, not nearly as publicized as the third world countries.

  • GaryR

    Areal eyeopener of a post! amazing photography, and it just shows you the divercity of human nature. Great post!


  • ana

    WOW! this changed my life


    Amazing pictures and amazing contrasts. Great project.

  • AC

    Part of the story is where these children are from. The boy with the mattress in the field for example is a gypsy. James Mollison is the photographer check it out.

    This whole series reminds me of another I saw about food. The photographer, whose name escapes me at the moment, traveled across the globe and asked families to sit for a portrait surrounded by all of the food in their homes. Here is the link http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/05/26/522670/-Global-Food-Disparity-A-Photo-Diary

  • madi

    soo sad cant believe they go through that- 🙁

  • leonie

    I feel so bad for those kids i am praying for them!:(

  • leonie

    i love them! _:9

  • Some devastating portraits and juxtapositions here. Somehow the first photo of the girl in yellow and black is almost the most horrifying.

  • negarin

    i realy love pics..some makes me crying!!! may i share them in tumbler?

  • אייל טנדלר

    This is really sad,
    the photographer did a really good job

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