Touching, Unguarded Portraits of Sleeping Parents-to-Be
I first came across Jana Romaova and her work in September, when Jordan G. Teicher did a feature for Slate.com on her totally captivating photographic series, Waiting, in which Romanova photographs 40 couples during their pregnancies. One photo of 40 different couples, one for each of the 40 weeks of what is considered a full-term pregnancy.
She began by photographing her friends first, at a time when many of those closest to her had become pregnant. Her intent was to capture an unguarded glimpse of her subjects, as she wrote on her website, “when people don’t really care about their appearance and one can see their attitude to each other and to this life that is growing inside their family.” From there she began to look for other interested couples. It took two years of numerous online postings asking for subjects to complete her project.
To get her shot, Romanova stands (very quietly) on a ladder within the couple’s own room. The slumbering pair, and their personal spaces where they are fast asleep, are unstaged and untouched. “The strangest thing about this project is that I was sure I would have a lot of portraits of people sleeping the same way in the same poses, but there were no similar couples at all, and I find it really amazing. And nobody has similar bed sheets, which also seems almost impossible,” Romanova said.
Romanova didn’t want the couples to pose, so she had to figure out ways of getting the photos while the couples were still asleep. “When it was possible I stayed with the couple at their apartment at night to make a picture at around 5-6 a.m., mostly on weekends, when people want to sleep and don’t really need to wake up for work,” Romanova said. “When it was not possible, I tried to come around 5 a.m., waited in the kitchen while they were asleep, and then took the picture.”