These unconventional portraits of drowsy people began in June 2015 in Taipei City, Taiwan.

These are just ordinary people. They settle down at a cosy-looking table in a coffee shop. In exchange for a drink, they get to spend as much time as they want at their seat. They wait, they study, they play with their smartphones. Inevitably, though, they are unable to resist the soporific easy-listening music. The warm, sweet-smelling air. Their heads end up lolling and sagging and eventually falling on the table.

Once asleep, their bodies are transformed: suddenly flabby and inert. They forget their environment, becoming numb to the world. Then, their various poses begin to take shape. These incongruous positions—perched somehow between the table and the chair on which they sit—became the focal point of my camera.

Presently, the series has 48 sleepers and is ongoing. So far, none of my subjects have ever noticed my presence. I took these photos with their knowledge—but with the precaution of not capturing their face. These are my “Coffee Naps.”

—Guillaume Hebert


Editors’ Note: We discovered this great work when Guillaume Hebert entered his work into the LensCulture Portrait Awards. Even though the international jury did not select the submission as an award winner, the editors of LensCulture liked the work so much, we decided to publish a feature article on the work. Enjoy!