Meet My Little Friend

When Fear & Inequality
Sleep With Our Children

A collection of portraits of kids around the world and the places where they lie down to dream every night may have been what James Mollison had in mind for his book of pictures, “Where Children Sleep.” The stark succession of contrasts between wealthy and extremelly poor boys and girls, and their refuges, which sometimes resemble little castles, and in others are more like scary dumps, are disclosed right from the opening page.
But as the photos show the places where they play and make up the fantasies that will inform their growth and reflect their despair or faith in the future, they also reveal where these kids are coming from, what’s important for them right now, and where they may be heading to. It’s all there, along with their proud or innocent or empty expressions, the objects of their current affection, or simply their stare back at you with a million unarticulated questions.
Meet 11 year old Joey, for example, from Kentucky, U.S., grasping one of his two shotguns, and see the bunker he calls his bedroom. Or the anonymous boy who sleeps on an outdoor mattress in the outskirts of Rome, Italy. Or Lamine, 12, and his axe, a full time worker from Senegal. It’s a bolt to our system to think that if they ever make it to our own age, some clues of what their future holds are already present in these pictures.
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* Originally published on May, 2010