Photos of the Ultimate Man Caves

The Photo Blog
Nov. 26 2013 11:01 AM

These Australian Sheds Are the Ultimate Man Caves


Jasper White

In rural Australia, a man’s shed is his kingdom. It’s a place to drink, hang out with his buddies, work on his car, or do whatever pursuit strikes his interest. For photographer Jasper White, these individualized spaces became a matter of sociological interest when he saw a shed belonging to his sister’s neighbor on a visit in 2008. White photographed more than 100 sheds over the next couple years, traveling through small towns in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia in search of the most visually appealing man caves. “They're almost like visual diaries of a guy's life,” White said. “You have a sense of his aspirations, fears, loves—the whole thing is kind of there.”

While man caves are not a phenomenon unique to Australia, the shed does seem to occupy a unique place in rural Australian culture. (Listen to John Williamson’s brilliant musical ode to sheds to get the idea.) “They perform an important role,” White said. “They help these guys to express themselves. It is a form of creative expression. It's an outlet. It can help a lot of men get over isolation.”

Sheds can serve a number of purposes, and over the course of his project, White saw the full range. One was designed to function as a nightclub, complete with a rotating disco ball. Another had a climbing wall. Another, belonging to an inventor, was fully automated with a complicated system of levers and pulleys.


Jasper White


Jasper White


Jasper White


Jasper White


While man caves in America might constitute a den or some other small room within a house, rural Australian homes tend to be situated on large lots of land, allowing the men to construct their personal sanctuaries on a much bigger scale. “You can have a shed the size of an aircraft carrier,” White said. “In fact, one of them had an aircraft in his shed.”

In towns where the local bar shuts early, a man’s shed can serve as an after-hours gathering place for the entire community, White said. While women can be seen in the sheds from time to time, White said it’s predominantly a “boys club.” “I think the women are quite glad the guys are out of the house,” he said. “In some ways it can ruin relationships. In other ways it can save them.”

You can see more about White’s photography on his website.


Jasper White


Jasper White


Jasper White


Jasper White


Jasper White


War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.


It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:06 PM Nothing to See Here The one national holiday Republicans want you to forget.
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.