New release! American Bedroom by Barbara Peacock

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New release! American Bedroom by Barbara Peacock
We never know our calling day, so I am living each day to the fullest. Freedom, traveling, boon docking, enjoying life and every inch of this countryside. James, 65, Wyoming/Utah border. © Barbara Peacock.

NEW YORK, NY.- For seven years, American photographer Barbara Peacock crisscrossed the United States photographing people in the spaces they defined as their bedrooms. The bedroom is an inherently personal space where humans are perhaps at their most vulnerable. Whether a room in a house, a camper, or an outdoor space, Peacock presents a body of work that invites the viewer to consider the stories we each carry, and how those unify us all.

Peacock's time on the road allowed her to create an expansive set of images that show regardless of geography, people are people, working to survive, and trying to live meaningful lives. American culture is increasingly divisive politically and ideologically, and Peacock notes in her essay for the book that when the physical doors opened, those barriers and divisions were "mysteriously and magically lifted." She continues, "What appeared was the bare soul of a human life, with a story, and a purity of heart that rose like cream to the top."

Contributing to the humanistic element prominent throughout this project, quotes from each subject accompany the individual photographs on facing pages and add further nuanced context to the definitions in the faces, their story, physical environment, and personal belongings.

That Peacock incorporates the voices of the people she photographs is a testament to the partnership and respect that resonates throughout the project. The quotes often provide insight into the inner landscapes of the individuals and reveal vulnerabilities, hopes, and dreams along with bits and pieces of their own unique lives and idiosyncracies.

The book is divided into five sections, each with its own title page, specific color, and phrase such as “Woken by Dogs,” and “Close to the Bone,” contributing to the symbolic and metaphorical layering within the images, and the project as a whole.

The people photographed range in age from small children to a 97 year old woman from Kansas City. The quotes combine with the items included within the photograph–the objects on the walls or bedside table, the interior or exterior space details–all interacting as harbors of memories that build the stories of people's lives.

In her essay for the book, Peacock also notes how the connecting elements of human nature and the shared experiences of things like, "Loneliness, loss, sorrow, regret, disappointment, re-awakening, self-awareness, wisdom, acceptance, contentment, and happiness," surpassed the differences presented in geographic location or physical circumstances unique to each person. Peacock observes how the project's meanings and implications transitioned from originating as a project "simply about taking photographs of people" to a project "about our likenesses, our loves, our dreams, and all the threads of commonality that connect us as human beings."

Barbara Peacock is a photographer and director living in Portland, Maine. Since having started American Bedroom in 2016, she has won the Getty Editorial Grant, the Women Photograph/Getty Grant, three LensCulture Awards, four Top 50 Critical Mass Awards, and was named one of the Top 100 Photographers in America 2020.

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