Slumber Party

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I’m going to be cheating massively in this post, as trying to winnow three “best in category” as well as tell a story (the last one) is nigh on impossible. The first cheat is having the above image as a kind of logo for the post – and so not including it in the chosen few. It’s intended as a companion to the previous post: featuring sleeping and ready-for-bed girls as represented in the latest gallery. One point: logically girls (and boys) wear the least restricting and often minimal clothes for sleeping: I’ve tried to eliminate any images that just seemed to show bare limbs etc. for the sake of it – any that have this (innocent) feature to any extent are there solely for the quality and representativeness of the photograph.

Likewise images of someone sleeping are by definition somewhat intrusive: you could give blanket permission to someone to snap you even when asleep, but to be honest a lot of these are the result of a parent seeing their darling daughter sleeping like the proverbial angel, and sneaking a picture. I’ve taken artistic licence to choose the ones that aren’t too sweaty, touselled, snotty and rumpled – but they could easily be the ones that the parents love the most…..

Here’s my first choice/are my first choices:

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One lovely thing with photos of sleeping children is how often they are taken by amateurs, usually, as I noted, by doting parents. The reasons are obvious: the child is actually keeping still (for once!), won’t pout at the camera,  and there’s time to  adjust lighting, focus, find the best angle and so forth. For a professional they’re less interesting as images: the expressions are often rather similar, and there’s less opportunity for using movement, props, outdoor light, etc.
Having said all that, the first of these two examples of Flickr perfection is the best compromise: a professional shooting her own child. The photographer is Atikinka, a Flickr member from St Petersburg, now domiciled in Argentina, and her daughter’s name is Mamu (as far as I can tell from her photostream).

Here’s the link:

….which is nice and small in the editing phase, and then comes out almost as big as the image itself when published. Oh well, it’s a lovely picture, so it’s no great hardship…

The other Flickr shot is by a great: The J Bird (Jay Ryness), but I don’t know if the girl is a relative: here’s his image link:

The two shots are wonderful in their contrast between colour and monochrome, while the girls’ poses and expressions are almost identical….and the detail of the individual strands of hair indicate great professional abilities…

My second is a perfect example of probable amateur snapping –  the serendipity quotient is high, and the image quality not that good:

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….but it’s perfectly possible that it was set up as a “cute” shot for stock image sales. Needless to say, it doesn’t reverse search to a source, amateur or professional.
The setting in a laundry basket is wonderful: in fact in the “Slumber Party” gallery there are girls asleep in cars, car boots, supermarket trolleys, deck chairs, on couches, benches, tables – you name it… Here though, the loveliest thing is her smile: she seems so cozy, protected, and at peace with the world.

My third is definitely set-up,  as it comes from a film:

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…the film is from 1975, “One Hundred Days After Childhood” by the Russian director Sergey Solovev, and it’s the best expression of the collective title “Slumber Party” in the gallery. As you’ll have noticed, there aren’t only actually sleeping girls in the set – as long as they’re pajama’ed  up and ready for bed, they’re suitable. The film itself takes place in a classic location for the stirrings of young love for Russians: summer camp – in Russian mythology, something like Spring break for American teens.

….and there’s even a fourth….!

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Yes, finally, sleeping twins – and no ordinary twins: these are the great Russian rhythmic gymnasts Arina and Dina Avarina (no, I’m not joking – and you thought giving children contrived names was a recent development: these two marvels of nature were born in 1998). I’m not going into their careers – suffice to say that Dina is ever-so-slightly the better competitor, while they’ve both had outstanding national and international success, including World Cup gold medals.

What drew me to the image, however, – apart from the wonderful display of twin/sibling love: and these girls must know each other like two humans rarely do –  was that it reminded me of some other similar shots……then I remembered:

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….yes, I know, this is simply indulgence: they’re not even sleeping!! But you can’t deny the similarity of content, at the very least. These two girls are Russian as well: the girl on the left in the first shot is Marta Krylova, an extremely well-known child model who is also a very accomplished gymnast and dancer, with Lana Andrianova (another model who is an excellent gymnast – the photographer being the prolific Gabito Rohh): I’m sure Marta would be delighted to have her likeness associated with the Avarina twins. And just to complete this indulgence, some more of them:

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If I’d been a boy the same age as them at the time of my “double trouble” portrait, and had seen them walking towards me, I’d have thought I’d died and gone to heaven….

[Better late than never: after Gabito Rohh’s kind pair of comments (see below), I thought I’d at least better give a link to his Facebook page – where he says that he’s going to start following his heart rather than just his reason…and can I say that he’s one of my favourite photographers for the simple fact that the kids clearly adore him…look at the photostream.]

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5 thoughts on “Slumber Party

    1. That’s amazing! I know that rhythmic gymnastics is an extremely popular sport for girls in Russia, and that most professional girl models do some form of gymnastics or dance for health and fitness reasons: but the fact I noticed a resemblance between the Avarina twins and the session with Marta and Lana was pure good luck! Thanks for the comments, Gabito, and compliments for being a photographer who keeps track of his work, but isn’t averse to sharing it…😥

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