5 Photo projects that show how the world lives, from dorms to family meals

Whether a person lives in Norway or Namibia, they’re doing same everyday things: eating, sleeping, going to the supermarket, playing with their toys. The meaning of that, and what it might look like, depends on class, culture and where the person is born. And that’s when things get interesting.

Here are five incredible photo projects that showcase the diversity of our everyday world by documenting subjects in different countries doing the exact same activity. The juxtaposition is fascinating!

1. Grandmas and their best dishes

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Bisrat Melake, 60, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Boonlom Thongpor, 69, Bangkok, Thailand

If you ask anyone what the most delicious food is—regardless of their nationality—they will answer with two words: grandmother’s cooking. In this photo project, “Delicatessen with Love,” photojournalist Gabriele Galimberti pays homage to all the grandmothers in the world and their traditional meals.

2. Children and their favorite toys

Maudy, 3, Kalulushi, Zambia.
Maudy, 3, Kalulushi, Zambia

Sofia, 4, Bradford on Avon, U.K.
Sophia, 4, Bradford on Avon, United Kingdom Gabriele Galimberti

In another series, “Toy Stories: Photos of Children From Around the World and Their Favorite Things,” Galimberti captures a different demographic. In 13 months of travel, he met with children across different socio-economic lines and found that regardless of the little or abundance of toys they have, children love to play! In the picture above, Maudy plays with this collection of sunglasses she and her friends found in the street in a village in Zambia.

3. Students in their dorms

Students and their dreams
Angie Kamuyu, 23, is an architecture student at Nairobi University, Kenya (left).
Bryan Panaligan, 16, is a student at Far Eastern University in Manilla, Phillippines (right). 

If you travel outside the United States, you’ll realize that on-campus dormitories are not ubiquitous. Nonetheless, the initiative, Images Connect by Henny Boogert found that regardless of one’s national culture, the place students call home is the same—small spaces. In a way, their dormitories represent the sacrifice and hope of a brighter future upon graduation for students. 

4. Families with the food they eat in 1 week

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Ayme family of Tingo, Ecuador.

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The Natomos of Kouakourou, Mali

In line with grandma’s recipes, the most delicious meals are those shared with loved ones. The project, “Hungry Planet,” executed by photojournalists Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio documents a family’s weekly dietary consumption around the world. Check out the entire collection to find out how location influences the costs and nutrition of the week’s groceries.

5. Kids and where they sleep

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Anonymous, 4, Rome, Italy.

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Jazzy, 4, Kentucky, USA

It is without a doubt that poverty exists everywhere in the world. In his book, “Where Children Sleep,” James Mollison sought to raise awareness on children’s rights by photographing a child’s bedroom. While some enjoy the privilege of living on Fifth Avenue in New York City, others must find a warm space in the streets. Warning: prepare yourself before viewing the entire collection because some of the conditions will make you want to quit your job and fight for children’s rights.

Which photo project did you find most fascinating? Tell us in a comment below

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