They say that to understand someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Photographer John Thackwray took a different approach: spending a day in their bedrooms.
He calls it the ‘My Room Project’. Thackwray has spent more than six years documenting the bedrooms of over one thousand Millennials from 55 countries. Some are rich, some are poor. Some live traditionally, others choose a modern path. Regardless of their circumstances, each one is captured the same way: with the camera on the ceiling and the room’s owner posed proudly in the centre.
As Thackwray photographs the young men and women in their rooms, he interviews them about their lifestyle, local issues, education, religion, and love. Every image comes captioned with the name, age, and occupation of the room owner. The result is an intimate portrait of Millennial life around the world, one that encourages the viewer to remember our similarities and embrace our differences.
Thackwray launched the project with friends in Paris in 2010. Since then, he has used social media and nonprofit organisations to find subjects around the world. His adventures have carried him from a Buddhist temple in Nepal to a Native American reservation, from a jail in Mexico to a Palestinian refugee camp.
“I was curious about lifestyle and culture — about how people of my age were living and how the world is mutating,” Thackwray told the Daily Mail. What started as an interesting way to see the world and meet new people quickly became an act of visual anthropology and a series of life lessons.
“I definitely would say that the world is unfair,” the photographer said. “I would say that many people confuse poverty and violence – poor communities are not necessarily violent, and violence is much harder, especially for women.”
“I also feel that many people confuse comfort and happiness,” he added, “because I’ve seen more smiles in poor countries and much more depression in developed countries.”
A hundred photos and interviews from the My Room Project will be featured in Thackwray’s forthcoming book, which is available for pre-order online. Take a peek at some of the vibrant, powerful images above.