Paul Schneggenburger’s Haunting Long-Exposure Photographs Of Couples Sleeping Together

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In “Sleep of the Beloved,” the photographer Paul Schneggenburger takes 6 hour exposure shots of slumbering, snuggling, writhing couples. The artist asks each pair of lovers to lay their weary bodies on a bed in his own apartment, his dark sheets lit gently by candlelight. The movements of the beloveds, sometimes sweeping and sometimes jolting, are all captured on film.

As the subjects’ fleshy tones and unconscious turning blur the lines between individuals, each couple emerges as a vital, breathing organism; the two appear to move as one, thrusting themselves beyond the confines of the charcoal bed. The long exposure serves to flatten time, creating the illusion of synchronized movement; couples appear as if reaching for one another at one precise moment, as if driven to touch, to bridge the gap between two separate dreamscapes.

Schneggenburger captures lovers at their most vulnerable; in the place of lucid, posed faces, the portraits offer slackened features glazed over by sleep, revealing startlingly intimate communications. As each pair enters into a wordless conversation, they express secret desires with the utmost abandon. Some grab and cling urgently to one another; others press their semi-nude bodies close. Pairs of lovers distance themselves, carving out private, isolated nooks within the bedding.

Each recorded face, filmed over the course of a long night, betrays countless emotions and yearnings. Capturing dreamy moments of peace and restlessness within each single frame, “Sleep of the Beloved” blurs the lines between the erotic, the lonesome, and the blissful, painting a beautifully complex, honest, and raw portrait of love and intimacy. (via Lost at E Minor and Demilked)

Artist Knits Herself A Boyfriend

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In a world of online matchmaking and social media, the artist Noortje de Keijzer offers a simpler option: an art piece and product entitled My Knitted Boyfriend, a knit pillowcase that comes to life when stuffed. In this witty critique of modern dating and expectations, My Knitted Boyfriend eliminates all the messy parts of a human relationship, conforming to individual preferences; he will enjoy whatever you enjoy, and he “can be adjusted to your own tastes” with the use of accessories like facial hair, tattoos, or glasses.

Although humorous in its somewhat cynical outlook on modern love, the piece is unexpectedly sentimental. The boyfriend himself comes along with an illustrated book narrating the story of de Keijzer and her cuddly lover, much like children’s picture books that include a stuffed animal. Also like a children’s storybook, the text and illustration follows a simple, nostalgic format: we are told that they “sleep together” and are offered an innocent sketch of the pair doing just that. The boyfriend, though he is not real, becomes a precious manifestation of the fictional—or imaginary—friend that enchants the young mind.

Complicating the delightfully sweet story of the artist and her beau is the work’s clever take on the domestic theme. As seen in her charming short film, the relationship is build not around professional ambition or the public realm; instead, they eat breakfast and watch movies. In fact, the man himself is knitted and therefore associated with the home. This 1950s-style domestic romanticism is brilliantly complicated and subverted by the fact that the male and not the female here is the homemaker; in place of the mid-century ideal of the perfect wife, My Knitted Boyfriend is that crucial element that makes a house a home. In the artist’s own astute words to her knitted partner, “You fit in my interior perfectly.” (via Design Boom)

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Angelo Merendino Photographs His Wife’s Battle With Terminal Cancer

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Five months after being wed in Central Park, while most couples are settling into a new blissful life together, Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer received troubling news: Jennifer had breast cancer.

Of this diagnosis, and the journey that ensued, Angelo states, “With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, ‘You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.’”

Angelo took his wife’s request seriously and his photographs, collected here, document not just her struggle with cancer, but also a certain compassionate way of looking– a presence from behind the lens that is not exploiting nor agenda-driven. Each black and white image from Angelo shows the necessity of bearing witness or being a vulnerable presence that is sharing in the difficult and very human experience of love and loss.

Angelo additionally notes, “We loved each other with every bit of our souls. Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.”

For those of us touched by cancer, we can relate to Angelo’s statement — sickness is not just about the disease, it’s about relationships: how we deepen with one another by practicing empathy and how this feeling palpably echoes long after someone passes. Capturing this feeling in art, the way Angelo has, connects not just two people, but many millions more.