Bedroom Tales — Jacopo Paglione Portrays Millennials He Met Online In Their Bedrooms
We’re featuring this work as one of of our favorite projects of those submitted to #FotoRoomOPEN | Kiosk edition. (By the way, we’re currently accepting submissions for a new #FotoRoomOPEN edition: the winning series will be published as a photobook by Gnomic Book. Find out more and send your work).
Bedroom Tales by 28 year-old Italian photographer Jacopo Paglione is a series of portraits of Generation Y kids, most commonly known as Millennials. The work was inspired by Jacopo’s own memories from a few years ago: “Every project I create has roots in my personal experiences. As a Millennial myself I constantly felt the pressure of living up to the world’s and my own expectations. I remember when in my early 20s, after moving to Rome from my small hometown, I used to go to my friend’s house where we would lay on the bed talking about our dreams and ambitions, but most of all the difficulties, the fears and the obstacles between who we were and who we thought we wanted to be. In my head I felt invincible: the world was mine and I could do anything. But the reality was different and I wasn’t prepared for it. The project is called Bedroom Tales in honor of my younger years, of those moments when me and my friends would share our insecurities and find strength in each other. I also wanted to feel less alone as I deal with a lot of overwhelming emotions and pressure; I wanted to know if there were other people in the world feeling the same way, and if feeling like that was okay.”
Except for a few friends of friends, Jacopo’s subjects were strangers to him: “I contacted them online through social networks. I introduced myself and explained my intent and my way of working. Most of the people I approached declined, for obvious reasons: it’s hard to find somebody who agrees to getting photographed in their bedroom by a stranger. But I was lucky enough to connect with these amazing boys and girls, full of energy and sensitivity. They totally understood what I was trying to say with my images and they were more than happy to help and participate. They were strangers, but by the time we sat down on their bed they felt like family to me.”
The Millennial generation is a very debated one: “There are a lot of misconceptions about it, the most common ones being that these kids are lazy and demanding, and that they feel they are entitled to anything. The previous generation experienced an incredible economic boom that improved all standards of living, so the world expects Generation Y to raise the bar even more. But the context has changed: the economy changed, politics changed and the job market is at its worst. There’s no room for excuses, though: I think Millennials are sophisticated and very talented, with specific skills that none of the previous generations had. They are more passionate about what they do and believe in than society gives them credit for. It’s really hard for them not to be scared about the future due to the the state of uncertainty and instability they live in. My goal with this project was to create an archive of Generation Y kids. Who are they now? What led them to become who they are, and how will they be like in the future?”
Jacopo chose the bedroom as a setting for his portraits “because it is the place where you let your guard down, where you feel secure and you feel safe being insecure. I never altered the setting—everything was exactly like you see it: the lights, the pillows, the posters, etc. My intent was to get a glimpse into their lives just as it was in that moment.” About the panoramic format, he says that “I’ve been using this format for quite some time now. I find that the space, the setting, the environment is fundamental for a portrait. It can reveal a lot, just as much as the person in the picture. It can help discover or add details to the story. I obtained the panoramic effect using the photo-stitching technique—I think it made the bedrooms the other protagonists of the project.”
Jacopo considers himself to be the first viewer of his images: “I take pictures for myself. I started this project to feel better, to feel part of something and to see myself in the people I photographed. So that is how I hope other viewers approach the images: I hope they put themselves in my subjects’ shoes and connect with them, understand that there is more to the eye than we can see and we might share the same feelings even if we don’t know each other.”
As a photographer, Jacopo is interested in “creating bodies of work that can help me understand what I’m going through as a human being. Everything I do comes from the need to cope with what I’m dealing with and see it in a material form. It’s like a way to exorcise my demons. Growing up in a small town, I always tried to find ways to escape reality—that’s why I was obsessed with music, subcultures in general, movies and videogames. Now my family and the people I surround myself with are my main influences on everything I do.” Some of his favorite contemporary photographers are Gregory Crewdson (“My first crush when I started photographing. He was creating these altered realities and in my eyes it was so powerful“), Ryan McGinley (“Kind of the opposite of Crewdson“), Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jeff Wall, Jens Olof Lasthein, Todd Hido, Bill Henson and Lise Sarfati.
Jacopo’s #threewordsforphotography are:
Close. Mountain. Caress.