Photos by Barbara Peacock
Text by Maria Dias
You can learn a lot from someone's bedroom. Just ask the woman who photographs them.
"[These are] whole stories in a single poignant moment," said photographer Barbara Peacock, of her project, "American Bedroom," documenting her subjects' most intimate spaces. "'American Bedroom' is a cultural study and an anthropological dig to get the clues of exactly who we are as individuals and as a nation, all told within the frame of a dwelling.
"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."
The idea came to her one early morning, naturally, on her way back into bed.
"I stopped in my tracks and had to giggle," she said. "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
So Barbara, whose editorial work has appeared in such publications as People and Newsweek, got to work.
Some of her subjects are people she knows, and by extension, their families or friends, she said. But she also has found subjects through social media or through leaving behind a small postcard in diners or coffee shops.
Once she has found her subject, her approach combines the art of photography and painting, she said. Each room and subject have a degree of the unknown, and in many cases, she is meeting the subject and seeing the room for the first time when she makes the photograph.
"It is important for the authenticity of the project that I show the true nature of my subject," Peacock said. "Each scenario presents opportunities to get to the core of the individual."
If there are items in their room that are telling and could be useful in the frame, she moves them in. If the subjects clothing or removal of clothing shows their character more, they discuss this and make those changes.
"I continue to help with the placement and gesture of their bodies for the best composition, and to utilize the existing quality of light," she said. "From that point, I
Peacock, who is a 2017 Getty Images Editorial Grant recipient, plans to use the funding to continue her project across the United States.
"I am very interested in meeting all types of people, and I enjoy the conversations that ensue and the aura of energy that is created," she said. "Most often it is after the shoot that the most
"I am learning that being photographed can be an important moment in someone’s life. I am learning to listen."