A photograph that made me think – Sleepwalkers – Joanna Kane

Although you immediately get a morbid feel from this image, you would assume that it is a real person being photographed due to the limited lighting and vision. Joanna Kane made casts of dead people faces and named the project ‘The Sleepwalkers’. The title is haunting enough without thinking about its actual meaning, she captured in such precise detail every aspect of someone who is estentially eternally sleeping. She attempts to keep them alive in a series of literally and emotionally dark images.

The casts are lit in such a way that it appears they are emerging from the darkness, almost as if they are rising from the dead, this is definitely enhanced by the black backdrop. Although the images as a whole is very dark, she has made every feature of the face visible, whether they are smiling or have a blank expression it gives you the impression that this is how they looked when they died. This could also be interpreted in the ‘sleep walkers’ idea that it is their expression from when they woke. The darkness of the images is reduced by the soft expressions and closed eyes of the subjects which relates to the ideas of them being asleep.

Emily Williams

L1 Photography – University of the West of England

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