"The Sleep of the Beloved" Shows How Couples Spend a Night

From midnight until 6AM, these photographs chronicle the twists and turns of a sleeping couple

sleep of the beloved
sleep of the beloved
Paul Schneggenburger

Austrian photographer Paul Schneggenburger's "The Sleep of the Beloved" is a remarkable take on long exposure photography. He puts up couples in the second room of his Vienna apartment, and between midnight at 6AM makes an exposure of them as they sleep. Against the plain backdrop of black bedding, and illuminated with only Christmas lights, the six hour photograph tracks the stillness and motion of each couple's nightly dance.

Schneggenburger isn't present during the photography, he lights the room, and has a 4x5 camera set on a timer to take the photograph over the darkest hours of the night. Viewing his work is a fascinating look at the way the couples interact. Some are mostly still through the entire night, some are a cloud of constant motion, and others have the partners move in completely different way.

Schneggenburger started the series in 2010 as part of his time at the University of the Applied Arts in Vienna, and his work is set to be shown at the Anzenberger Gallery later this year. Talking to CNN, the photographer said the project is complete, but he's willing to photograph couples if they pay for the print. Of course, you'd have to get to Vienna first. Sounds like a perfect romantic trip for Valentine's Day.