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24 Photos of Americans In Their Bedrooms Showcase What Their Private Lives Are Really Like

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The bedroom is one of the most private, protected enclaves of a home, where people are at their most vulnerable. And an extraordinary project by artist Barbara Peacock is showcasing the beauty of that vulnerability by photographing people across America at rest in their bedrooms.

The formula for Peacock’s photos is deceptively simple:

Take pictures of people in the place where they sleep, whether that’s a bedroom, a trailer, a tent, or on the street. But the richness of the images comes from Peacock’s well-trained eye for detail and personal details.

The photographs are a compromise between finding the perfect composition and finding the all-important “authenticity of the subject.” 

Peacock says that she “[helps] with the placement and gesture of their bodies for the best composition, and to utilize the existing quality of light,” but that from there, “I try to be a fly on the wall and wait for a poignant moment.”

Peacock has made it her mission to depict “ordinary, working-class Americans” from coast to coast.  She cites Walker Evans, the Depression-era photojournalist who rose to fame documenting extreme poverty in the American south, as an inspiration for her work. But her focus isn’t social struggle; she wants to get a sense of these people as individuals. “I want to convey that within this careful and respectful glimpse of another’s life there lies a curiosity that we have about each other and the way we live our lives, no matter how disparate,” she told Getty.

When asked where she got the idea for the project, Peacock recalls an ordinary day in her own home. “My husband was sprawled out on the bed with his elaborate snore mask, his bare middle-aged belly, polka dotted underwear and black socks, left on from the evening’s night out. I stood there a moment and imagined how I might appear next to him, with my eye mask, tank top, and signature funky socks. I chuckled, and as I got back into bed I started thinking about people in their private dwellings and what can be said about us, as a people, in a single frame.”

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