Compelling evidence

My most recent ‘totes fave’ website is The Atlantic.

(Turns out my friend Kim has given me a couple of articles from the hard copy magazine, which I really enjoyed – so she was amused when I sent her a link to the site telling her I thought she would ‘totes love it too’.)

Recently The Atlantic had a brief story, but a link to a photographic project belonging to German photographer Paul Schneggenburger. The project is called the sleep of the beloved or in German (always more gutteral and industrial sounding) Der Liebenden Schlaf.

With all rights and respects to Paul, I include a photo below – but absolutely encourage all readers to visit the site.


At this point, I will conduct a poll.The question for the poll is:

Does this image make you say “aaahhhhh…” or “ARGHHHHH!!!!” ?

For dedicated co-sleepers may I be so presumptuous as to suggest that this image and others in Paul’s gallery arouse feelings of closeness, deep intimacy and a ‘dance of love’, and make you say “aaahhhhh”. The image may make you guileless towards your partner about the secret connection you share through sleep. The image likely moves you to close your eyes and conjure images of love, sex, and unspeakable belonging. How am I going? Have I captured the evocative push of the photo?

I, of course, am in the “ARGHHHHH!!” crew. As I scrolled through the images, while appreciating the technical and ethereal beauty of the images, my inner dialogue was chattering away with “and he’s strangling her”, “he’s taking up too much space”, “bet they woke to the smell of each other’s breath in that position” and “oh no – watch out for that pointy elbow”.

The photos mount equally valid cases for the good and the bad of bed sharing. Black and white photos always pluck a nostalgic chord in us, so we have to discount some of the compelling argument FOR bed sharing because of this ruse.

But when you carefully examine the amount of movement captured, it becomes easy to see why a light sleeper struggles to share a small space with another human who surrenders control of their body for 8 hours each night.

One could equally argue the intimacy and trust captured in the images speaks of the special trust between a couple in the delicate dance of bed sharing.

Compelling evidence for both points of view.

(Maybe I will invite Paul to film some separate sleepers. The title for the exhibition of course will be ‘Sleep of the beloved pragmatists’ or in German ‘Schlaf von der geliebten Pragmatiker‘.)

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