Chris Boot’s “Where the Children Sleep” is a compelling examination into the inner lives of children from around the world through photographs of their bedrooms, coupled with photographs the children themselves on a neutral background. The shots are doubly revealing: for the kids, but for us as well.
These are kids of the same age, each living in radically different conditions, for better or worse, by sheer happenstance—some privileged, others much less so. However the project did not come off like some late-night United Way commercial. Boots presented it in a way that prompted empathy rather than sympathy. Moreover, it forced the audience to consider where we each come from in comparison to others. It was particularly insightful to see the difference between kids in the same country, still completely separate in their home life, which shows there is no banner that could fully encapsulate an individual.
What further captures the reader is the presentation of the kids on a neutral background. In this way we see the kids separate from their environment. It demonstrates how little we can gather from about people from their immediate person, and how limited our perception is when making judgment.
In many ways it provides a sound foundation for our own interactions: if we should find ourselves at odds with another—whether over religion, or politics, or entertainment–we should keep in mind the message of this work. Everyone’s coming from a different place, every single person has a bed room, likely much different than yours at home…