VANTAGE POINT

Photos of millennials’ bedrooms around the world are a peek into global youth culture

Obsession
The Next Billion
Obsession
The Next Billion

John Thackwray, a French and South African commercial filmmaker and photographer, has traveled the globe since 2010, and photographed over 1,200 bedrooms of young people born in the 1980s and 1990s.

The first of these aerial interior photos was a simple portrait of Thackwray’s flatmate in his bedroom in Paris, and set off a multi-year photo project spanning years, and several long trips across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The project evolved into a kind of visual anthropological study. Whichever city, town or village he visited, Thackwray would try to find friends, local NGOs, or others to connect him with someone who would let him into their home and share with him a glimpse of their life and identity, from an elevated vantage point in their most intimate physical space.

Osia, shepherd, 18 years old, Ha Selomo, Lesotho.
Osia, shepherd, 18 years old, Ha Selomo, Lesotho. (John Thackwray)

“I was starting to think that if I don’t get those shots, no one will see them, because the world is changing really fast,” Thackwray tells Quartz. “I guess in twenty years the photos will be extremely precious.”

In his upcoming photo book, My Room: Portrait of a Generation, each image is coupled with an interview about something that shaped the person’s life. A Japanese woman shares her musings about dress codes; an Indian talks about adoption; an Iranian explains why she embraces traditional values.

“I’m trying to do a big story in a small one,” he says. “Each person has their own story and they can talk about something that is wider and more universal.”

Josee, accounting student, 22 years old, Kigali, Rwanda.
Josee, accounting student, 22 years old, Kigali, Rwanda. (John Thackwray)
Ben, movie student, 22 years old, Dallas, US.
Ben, movie student, 22 years old, Dallas, US. (John Thackwray)
Elahe, painter, 29 years old, Tehran, Iran.
Elahe, painter, 29 years old, Tehran, Iran. (John Thackwray)
Oleg, telecom engineer, 24 years old, Novosibirsk-Russia.
Oleg, telecom engineer, 24 years old, Novosibirsk-Russia. (John Thackwray)
Asha, housewife, 17 years old, Bamansemilya, India.
Asha, housewife, 17 years old, Bamansemilya, India. (John Thackwray)
room268-dongzhe-25years-old-designer-beijing-china
Dongzhe, designer, 25 years old, Beijing, China. (John Thackwray)

My Room: Portraits of a Generation will be release by the end of 2016. It is available for online pre-order.

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