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Ted Spagna (1943-1989) was an influential teacher, filmmaker, and photographer who discovered and pioneered the art of sleep portraiture. In 1975, he began to photograph humans sleeping in order to investigate the relationship between art and science and to satisfy his own curiosity about sleep behavior. His subjects included humans ranging in age from newborns to a 92 year old man, and eventually animals in captivity. The images depict the inherent beauty, rhythm, and organization of natural behavior. Spagna talked of these images in terms of Muybridge, likened them to silent film, and often spoke formally about what he called the “architecture of sleep.” He thrived on his work and enjoyed being an artist on the boundary between art and science right up until his death on June 21, 1989.
What compelled him the most was his endless curiosity about the unknowable sleeping psyche and the desire to inspire exploration, discovery and learning. His brilliantly colored exposures, sensual, cinematic images of dressed or undressed sleeping subjects depict the inherent beauty, rhythm, and organization of natural behavior. “Sleep” by Ted Spagna (a coffee-table style photography book), was published in 2013 by Rizzoli Publications, and includes editorial contributions from the renowned photographer Mary Ellen Mark and Dr. Allan Hobson, Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School. For more information, visit www.tedspagna.com.