Barbara Peacock, American Bedroom

“In the end, it’s all about love of family and one another.” Francisca, 42, and Lupe, 52, Guadalupe, Arizona.
Photography © Barbara Peacock.

Stuff CrushPublications

Barbara Peacock, American Bedroom

Photographer Barbara Peacock takes us into America's bedrooms for an intimate portrait of the country's contemporary society...

For seven years, American photographer Barbara Peacock traversed the length and breadth of the United States photographing people in the spaces they define as their bedrooms. Whether a room in a house, a camper, or an outdoor space, the unfiltered photographs show the subjects in their most intimate dwelling, offering a rare glimpse into the raw essence of a series of singular lives.

The body of work born from those travels can be seen in Peacock’s new photo book published by Kehrer Verlag, American Bedroom compiling the unguarded portraits of individuals, couples, and families that each reveal a depth of character and truth. Paired with quotes from each subject, containing subtle details that invite us to observe the idiosyncrasies of each enigmatic life, the book serves as a document of the American psyche as it stands in this modern age. Since beginning the project in 2016, Peacock 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.

Barbara Peacock, American Bedroom Published by Kehrer Verlag: Stephanie, 37. The Mathews Family Saratoga Springs, Utah

“Endless possibilities and adventure! We sold our home and just about everything we owned three years ago. Little did we know what awaited us on the open road … freedom unlike anything we had ever had while on a quest to find a new place and community to call home.” Stephanie, 37. The Mathews Family Saratoga Springs, Utah.

Pepere, 88, Jay, Maine

“When I wake in the morning, I try to be quiet so I don’t wake her. Then I remember she is no longer here.” Pepere, 88, Jay, Maine.

Micah, 35, and Kody, 40. Omaha, Nebraska

“Love is accrescent. If you choose to love, there is no end to how big and all-encompassing it can grow. We chose to love each other daily and will keep choosing to love as we push on into the future. Micah, 35, and Kody, 40. Omaha, Nebraska.

American Bedroom unifies the subject and reader through the stories that we all carry, the photographer telling us: “I believe the bedroom is not just a private place, but a sacred place. We build it as a shrine to our lives (even if houseless) and spend nearly one third of our lives in it. It exemplifies our being; it is a place to rest, to love, to comfort, to be, to give life, to restore, to recover, to grieve, to lay sick and to die. The one thing I know for certain is that all lives are important, and everyone has a story to tell.”

The expansive set of images show how, 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.”

Incorporating the voices of the people she photographs is a testament to the partnership and respect that resonates throughout the project, the images accompanied by powerful quotes such as “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,” from 18 year-old Jessica of Milford, New Hampshire.

From small children to a 97 year-old woman from Kansas City, American Bedroom is a truly beautiful chronicle a modern America where the possibilities are endless and the road is long. Published by Kehrer Verlag, American Bedroom by Barbara Peacock is available now priced 48€.


Laverne, 72, and James, 74 Big Stone Gap, Virginia

“Finding love late in life has taught me many lessons, including not to be shy or embarrassed by my body. It is freeing to say I am big, bold and beautiful. Laverne, 72, and James, 74 Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

Arlene, 81. Gila River Reservation, Arizona

“I have buried all seven of my children (sons) from alcoholism or heat stroke. I now live for my grandchilldren.” Arlene, 81. Gila River Reservation, Arizona.

Barbara Peacock, American Bedroom Published by Kehrer Verlag: Mek, 29. Siberian-Yupik Tribe, Alaska

“While my physical parts feel safe among my living space, rested against a pillow, my heart yearns for my home, my community, our land.” Mek, 29. Siberian-Yupik Tribe, Alaska.

Barbara Peacock

“Our world revolves around autism and the whole family struggles to keep up. But it’s our hearts that keep us together and our large family bed where every night we reconnect. Nobody can love our family like we do.” Jordan, 35.

Jamie, 44. The Seh-Nielsen Family Victor, Idaho

“With the world moving ever so fast, these apples of my eye remind me to slow down and see the beauty in all things. They are the light.” Jamie, 44. The Seh-Nielsen Family Victor, Idaho.

Barbara Peacock, American Bedroom Published by Kehrer Verlag: Jeremiah, 45. Kauai, Hawaii

“I’ve been sleeping in the grass between the trees, sky, and by the ocean for six years now. My body and soul are clean. When I go I leave no trace.” Jeremiah, 45. Kauai, Hawaii.

Hope (she/her/he /him), 16, and Kurt (he/him), 17 Homer, Alaska

“I love you with every atom. You are the tranquility of a calm stream and the excitement of a waterfall. You bring me all my favorite feelings. Forever isn’t long enough with you.” Hope (she/her/he /him), 16, and Kurt (he/him), 17 Homer, Alaska.

Chevy, 27. The Lafayette Family Detroit, Michigan

“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.” Chevy, 27. The Lafayette Family Detroit, Michigan.