South African-born photographer John Thackwray probably doesn’t spend much time in his bedroom. Why? Because he’s too busy photographing the bedrooms of others! He’s spent over 6 years photographing over one thousand people’s bedrooms from 55 countries for his photo-series titled My Room Project. It started out as a bit of fun with friends in Paris but since then his project has taken him everywhere from Mexico and Russia to Nepal and Japan. Thackwray only photographs the bedrooms of people born in the 80s and 90s in order to capture and compare the different hopes and aspirations of one particular generation. He also interviews them about various topics including lifestyle, local issues, education, religion, and love, and he’s combined a selection of his photographs and interviews for a book that’s available for pre-order on his website.
Speaking about the project to MailOnline Travel, Thackwray said that he started taking the pictures because he was curious about different lifestyles.
He said: ‘I was curious about lifestyle and culture – about how people of my age were living and how the world is mutating. ‘The project has never photographed 1200 candidates of 55 countries.’ While all of the countries Thackwray visited featured interesting bedrooms, he believes that some of the experiences were especially strong because of the life stories of the subjects. He said: ‘The Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps were really sad, as was the Rwanda youth who had experienced the 1994 genocide as a child and lost all their family.’Photographing young “narcos” in a North Mexico jail who talked to me about redemption was a memorable and strong experience too.’But I was also impress by the spirituality in India, and the craziness of the Japanese.’ Despite many stark differences from nation to nation, Thackwray says that thanks to modern technology, most people are connected through the internet nowadays.
He said: ‘Most of them share an access to Internet and social network, including Saudi young women and farmers in the African bush. ‘This is definitely the connected generation, which has also allowed me to stay in touch with most of them.’
But that is where the similarities end according to Thackwray, who has learned a number of lessons about the world since embarking on the project.
He said: ‘I definitely would say that the world is unfair. ‘I would also say that many people confuse poverty and violence – poor communities are not necessarily violent, and violence is much harder, specially for women. ‘I also feel that many people always confuse comfort and happiness, because I’ve see more smiles in poor countries and much more depression in developed countries.’
La Paz, Bolivia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
New York, USA
Jambyl Region, Kazakhstan
Ban Sai Ngam, Thailand
Durban, South Africa