Awake After Two Decades of Slumber

Fourteen years of groundbreaking work and thousands of photographs have laid dormant for two decades... until now.

New York, NY, September 14, 2013 --( "It's fabulous that 'SLEEP' has been published. You don't see a lot of great work anymore and Spagna's work is fantastic! It deserves to be seen and I'm thrilled that his work has new life. Many have been inspired by this work and thanks to these projects, many more will be." – Mary Ellen Mark

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. 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.

In 2009 Spagna's nephew and goddaughter, Ron Eldridge and Delia Bonfilio, formed The Ted Spagna Project. It’s mission is two-fold: to awaken this work and carry it on as Spagna would have today. This month, the components of The Project become available to the public.

"SLEEP" by Ted Spagna
with text by Dr. Allan Hobson and Foreword by Mary Ellen Mark
Hardcover / 9x12” / 144 pages / 70 color images / $55 US
Rizzoli New York / ISBN: 978-0-8478-4098-4 / Release date: September 2013

This intriguing coffee table book is a voyeuristic journey through Spagna’s human sleep portraiture work. It includes editorial contributions from the renowned photographer, Mary Ellen Mark and Dr. Allan Hobson, notable psychiatrist and dream researcher.

“Ted Spagna’s photographs have done more than any other medium to make sleep science visible, and hence, directly understandable to the general public.” – Dr. Allan Hobson, psychiatrist and dream researcher

Sleep Snapshots
A unique mobile photography studio with a specific focus on the art of sleep portraiture. Commissioned studies are available in select areas in and around NYC and the service will pop-up for limited stays in other locations across the United States. For more information, please visit their website.

To Sleep To Dream
A creative collaboration and online shop offering reproductions of Spagna’s sleep images and limited edition prints of sleep inspired art by a select group of artists. For more information, please visit their website.

About Ted Spagna and Members of The Project:

Ted Spagna (1943–1989) Spagna’s sleep studies were featured on Nova, Sixty Minutes, and Good Morning America. They were also featured in The New York Times Magazine, People, and Art in America. His work has won numerous awards including the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship, the Annual Award of Excellence in Photography from Communication Arts magazine, and the Rush Gold Medal Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his work on “Dreamstage” – an exhibition that premiered in 1977 at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge, MA and later toured eleven American cities and traveled to Bordeaux, France.

Ron Eldridge is Ted Spagna’s nephew and co-founder of The Ted Spagna Project. Ron is a creative professional with experience in a wide range of industries. He’s a co-editor of “SLEEP” and is also the lead photographer of “Sleep Snapshots” and contributor of “To Sleep To Dream.”

Delia Bonfilio, Is Spagna’s goddaughter and co-founder of The Ted Spagna Project. She’s a co-editor and the designer of "SLEEP" and contributor to both Sleep Snapshots and To Sleep To Dream. She has a degree in Communication Design from Pratt Institute and in 1998 founded Bonfilio Design – a visual communications design and marketing consultancy.

About the Contributors to “Sleep”:

Mary Ellen Mark is an award-winning American photographer. She has received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Allan Hobson, M.D. is a notable American psychiatrist and dream researcher who collaborated with Spagna on the landmark exhibition “Dreamstage.” He has been honored with numerous awards including, The Benjamin Rush Gold Medal for Best Scientific Exhibit and the 1998 Distinguished Scientist Award of the Sleep Research Society.

Images are available to accompany your coverage, and are to be credited on a case by case basis. They may not be reproduced in any way without written permission from The Ted Spagna Project.
The Ted Spagna Project
Michael Cobb