Barbara Peacock: American Bedroom
“We felt the weight of the responsibility of our children for decades. Now we are on our own. The empty nest has reawakened the joy of freedom we had as youths”
I was thrilled to feature Barbara Peacock’s 30-year project, Hometown, some time back as I so appreciated the humanity and sympathetic approach she brings to her subjects. Her new series, American Bedroom is an anthropological study of our most private spaces – where we sleep, where we are intimate, and where we restore ourselves. Barbara was the recipient of the Getty Editorial Grant 2017 for this work. It also garnered a Critical Mass Top 50 nod in 2019. The work is free of artifice and is revelatory in its insights into our personal spaces.
Barbara is an assignment photographer living in Portland, Maine. She studied fine arts at Boston University School of Fine Arts, and photography and filmmaking at The School for the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University. She began as a street photographer and gradually became an assignment lifestyle photographer and director.
Her commercial clients include Arm & Hammer, Nickelodeon, French’s, Disney, Stride Rite, Brookstone, Tylenol, Wells Fargo & Toyota. Editorial clients include People, Newsweek, Real Simple, Family Circle, Oprah, Family Fun.
In 2016 she published Hometown –1982-2015 – A thirty-year photographic project of the small town where she grew up and continued to live as an adult. Published by BazanPhotos Publishing, Brooklyn NY. Printed in the USA by Puritan Capital.
She founded a non-profit organization ‘The Nightingale Project’ that teaches art and photography to needy children. The program travels with a mix of adults and high school students. Journeys so far have been to Haiti, Cambodia and New York.
“I have buried all seven of my children (sons). I now live for my grandchildren.”
American Bedroom – reflections on the nature of life
My interest lies in the poetic resonance of ordinary subjects. I am passionate, but not sentimental about America. I am drawn to the quiet magisterial beauty of people half lost in memory, with too much time on their hands, or in silent paradox. I argue and persuade that these subjects matter.
American Bedroom is a cultural and anthropological study of Americans in their private dwelling: the bedroom. The nature of the project is unguarded portraits of individuals, couples, and families that reveal the depth of their character, truth, and spirit. The images are paired with quotes from each subject and are full of subtle details that invite us to contemplate the idiosyncrasies of each enigmatic life. The scoop of the project is the entire country.
With this project, I illustrate my love and influence of painting. When I was a child I watched my Mother paint by window light and as a result, I have been drawn to painting and interior light.
“I live in a room without windows. It is my home.”
“My mom died when I was six. I’ve been chasing her ghost since to try and feel close to her and find out who I am. I hope for peace one day, to find love and have a place to call my own.”
“I like jumping on my bed so I can fly like a parrot.”
“I never wanted to be a girl, I just wanted to be a cowboy in red lipstick. Now far from Texas, and all the religious repression of my youth inthe 70’s, I feel powerful and finally free.”
“The best part of every weekend day is waking up with the one you love and knowing you have nothing to do but be together.”
“I tell myself I am beautiful, I am loved, I am good enough. I demand respect for myself because I deserve it. I’m 5’3″ and 230 pounds and never apologize for who I am.”
“Sometimes life throws you in all sorts of directions, the most important part about life is to remember you are exactly where you need to be.”
“I’m a dad now.”
“Our world revolves around autism and the whole family struggles to keep up. But it’s our hearts that help keep us together and our large family bed where we connect every night. Nobody can love our family like we do.”
“It’s dangerous here, we need to protect the girls. We have basic dreams, a home with running water and electricity but mostly a safe place for the girls to grow up.”
“I really want better for my kids. Right now we all live in one room. We’re trying to get a house and a car before the snow comes. When we get it together we will get married. I dream of becoming a nurse.”
“My heart lies within me but my homes lies within so many other’s hearts. My journey to find my home will never end until I find my way back to myself.” Spencer (he/him?
“I’ve had this car as a consistent place longer than I’ve lived in any room as an adult so far.” Laura (she/her)
“I thought I would feel rested after retirement, but I find myself weary doing all the tasks postponed over the years.”
“I’ve had people living here for years, but living alone is more freeing. My dogs are great company. What more can you ask for?”
“In the end, it’s all about love of family and one another.”
“Being a mother to these three powerful beings is such a blessing. I feel like they have raised me! We love each other and we support one another. The wisdom and strength we share is a gift.”
“There are days I don’t leave my room.”
“When I wake up in the morning, I try to be very quiet so I don’t wake her. Then, I remember she is not here.”
“We are tattered and stressed, emotionally wiped, just lost a baby and repairing our relationship. We were made for each other across the oceans,we found each other.”
“On hot nights, I sleep outside with the dogs.”
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