An endeavor to acknowledge and celebrate the work of Ted Spagna – pioneer of sleep portraiture.

Ted Spagna was an influential teacher, filmmaker, and photographer who discovered and pioneered the art of sleep portraiture. From 1975-1989, his sleeping subjects included people ranging in age from newborns to 92 years old and a wide variety of animals in captivity. The significance in his work lies in both its aesthetic and scientific implications because until Spagna came along, sleep researchers never had this kind of visual information before about their subjects. His work corroborated and amplified studies about sleep behavior and helped to bridge a gap between the artistic and scientific communities. He was at the height of his career, exploring the endless possibilities of sleep portraiture and gaining wide recognition for it, when he passed away in 1989 at the age of 45.

Fourteen years of groundbreaking work and thousands of photographs had laid dormant for over two decades until Spagna's nephew (Ron Eldridge) and god-daughter (Delia Bonfilio) came together to produce “Sleep” by Ted Spagna (published by Rizzoli New York). Designed and co-edited by Bonfilio, the book presents in brilliantly colored exposures, these sensual, cinematic images of dressed or undressed sleeping subjects depicting the inherent beauty, rhythm, and organization of natural behavior. It includes editorial contributions from the renowned late-photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and Dr. Allan Hobson (Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School). 

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A look inside "Sleep" with insights into the work from the late photographer Ted Spagna, as well as contributions from Spagna's nephew Ron Eldridge and godchild Delia Bonfilio. In 1975, Ted Spagna began his voyeuristic venture into "inner space," exposing the secrets of human sleep behavior by photographing intimate narratives of sleeping figures with a time-lapse camera.