Slide Show: ‘Where Children Sleep’

BY Tom LeGro  April 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM EST

In his project, “Where Children Sleep,” photographer James Mollison explores how the sleeping spaces of children around the world reveal much about their lives. Sadly, the notion that we’re all born equal is not the case, he says.

He pairs each of the children — photographed on a plain background — with interior shots of their bedrooms. “Each kid was picked in a way to kind of tell a story about the way different children were living,” Mollison says. “There were some surprises.”

Mollison, whose work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, Le Monde and elsewhere, spoke to us by phone from a hotel in Kenya about some of the subjects in his book: Tzvika, an Israeli boy; Douha, a Palestinian girl; gun-toting Joey from Kentucky; strawberry-loving Kaya from Japan; and Indira, a young Nepalese quarry worker.

“There’s an incredible privilege being allowed to go into people’s houses,” Mollison says. “And I learned how incredibly privileged I am to be able to fly into a situation and see how these people live and to be able to leave it again.”

There will always be inequality, he adds. “That’s never not going to exist. It’s just how much that inequality is acceptable.”