James Mollison, English-born photographer currently living in Southern Italy. will be speaking about three of his projects that explore being alive in very different ways through his poignantly unique lens. “Where Children Sleep”, a collection of portraits of children in their bedrooms, is an in-depth exploration into being alive at different places around the world, from the innocent position of children.
TEDxSF: What were you looking for and what were you looking at as the project “Where Children Sleep” spans such a diverse landscape of countries, economic classes, and cultures?
JM: It’s a project where I read the declaration of human rights which says we’re all born equal, and it struck me that although this was a noble intention, I thought how completely false it was in reality. A project really to try and explore the different situations that children find themselves living around the world. I think that children are an interesting way to explore situations because as children they’re born into that situation so you can’t really blame them…it started, I went to Israel and the West Bank…it seemed a good way to look at things that are going on in the world.
TEDxSF: Can you tell us a story of one of the children that struck you most profoundly?
JM: One of them was a little girl called Indira who was a seven year old girl that I photographed in a stone quarry in Katmandu. Nepal. And this girl had worked in the stone quarry since she was three years old. And she worked with her family who lived just next door to it. And I think it was just to see the different experience, obviously completely different from my own, growing up in quite a middle class environment in England and all of the things I had perhaps taken for granted, kind of going to school and the healthcare. And to see the families that are really dealing with and living in poverty.”
TEDxSF: How do you live your best life?
JM: Well I think that being a photographer is an amazing job because I’ve always seen it as like a key into people’s lives and it gets me into these situations that I would never normally go into. Last week I was in Libya so I got to see the situation on the ground. I think my best life is a combination of working on projects and also getting the chance to live life. That’s why I love living in Italy, you’ve got great food, great wine, great weather. And it’s a kind of mixture between going away and doing projects and then also coming back and being able to enjoy the great things about life.
James Mollison website.
Listen to the full interview below.