CNN Photos

“What happens to lovers while they are sleeping?”

This is the question photographer Paul Schneggenburger asked as he began his project “The sleep of the beloved.”

Using the second room of his two-bedroom Vienna apartment as a studio, he set up black sheets on a mattress, lit by a string of Christmas tree lights. A self-constructed trigger outside the room started the 4×5 camera at midnight for each six-hour exposure and turned it off automatically at 6 a.m., before the sun rose. Schneggenburger was not in the room during the exposures.

“I’m fascinated by sleep,” the German-born photographer said. “What’s going on in the body; what’s going on in the mind?”

He was curious to find out how people behave when they’re asleep, whether there is any emotion between them.

“Is it a nocturnal lovers’ dance — which is not necessarily sensual, but rather a kind of unconscious act of…

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