[slidepress gallery=’lassal_disencounters’]

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After two years of feeling absolutely not myself, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, a hormone deficiency. Modern medicine can supply synthetic hormones but it took me more than half a year to build up to the correct dosage. The medication made for a time of extreme advances and many setbacks so that night and day I felt completely displaced at times. I was terribly worried about straining my partnership beyond repair during this time. When I got to bed, Tone was long asleep, and when I woke up he was long gone …

I decided that I wanted to document the situation. On one hand, it was simply a good feeling to step out of the victim’s position, and on the other hand, I thought, whatever would happen, I could dedicate these images to my partner for a patience that I myself sincerely might not have had with him! So I began to take a picture of his side of the bed when I went to sleep and one when I got up. A little over 80 days later I took the last pair of images for the series.



Born in Germany, I grew up in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, returning to Germany in my late teens.

I studied economics, computer science and architecture in Germany, financing my studies in large part by visualizing scientific processes in a German research institute and by developing and drawing storyboards for movies, music videos and commercials.

In 2000/2001, while working on my diploma in architecture, I bought a digital point & shoot camera to document my works in progress. It was with this camera that my passion for photographic note-keeping was ignited. But it was not until the end of 2007, when I stumbled upon David Alan Harvey’s blog “road trips”, that I became aware of photography as a means for individual expression.

I am currently based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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99 thoughts on “lassal – disencounters”

  1. Great, personal, beautiful, poignant, and autobiographical essay… I love this work Lassal !!! Congratulations !!!!

    big hug, audrey

    ps: Arles, Perpignan, Paris Photo, I will be there ;))

  2. IT’s a brave thing to point the camera at yourself, especially in such a vulnerable state.

    Of course the images are repetitive, but I simply didn’t care. I could not stop from clicking on the next image.

    Good to see your work on here, and glad you and your doctors got things figured out.

  3. Pingback: Disencounters is up on BURNmagazine | Lassal

  4. Who would think that such a repetitive series of potential very boring images could instead prove to be so very poignant? When I got to the end, I had to back through in reverse and look at it all again – and I am quite certain that I am going to have to go back and look at them all again a few times. And that iPod – what a statement about sleeping in the same bed together, yet going to and getting up alone.

    And the images where your toes came through – nice touch. And it was better that your toes were in only a few images than it would have been had they been in all.

    And in that last image, you look absolutely beautiful.

    I’m sorry that you had to go through all this, but glad that you have come through it. The best to you, Tone and your father in this new year – may the good times outnumber the bad and may the bad make the good better and you stronger.

  5. I went through the pictures several times. Then, on your homepage through the whole set, too.
    Whew. No repetition at all. Great idea, however the cause is tough.
    Hope things are better for you now.
    The idea with the last pair of pictures is the icing.


    Hope to see you soon.


  6. Lassal.. it’s just great! I love it! The best art is always the art related with your experiences and your life.. personal work. Big hug and congratulations, Aga

  7. What is this?
    Pictures of a person sleeping over and over again?
    I totally understand your personal whatever situation, but hang on a minute!! I do not see anything special at all in these pictures!
    I actually see nothing apart from a repetitive set of images, same (or close to be the same) to one another.

    This is a case where I see the words overshadowing any will to construct a photographic essay.

    I could write anything really, and put beside it a set of whatever pictures I want, and solely because of this, justify its existence?!!?

    I must be really wrong..or else!

    Please do illuminate me on this, as I am truly spaced out!!!!

  8. I appreciate the simplicity, repetition, and finale of this piece… as an exploration of your medical condition and an artistic chronicle of it’s affects on your romantic life. Do you feel this took bravery on your part to publish this work here? I like it very much.

  9. Mimi, it’s interesting, for me it’s the repetitive nature of Tone’s solitary sleeping that sends the message that one picture alone would not do. And I think in this case Lassal’s written description is a necessary compliment to the photographs.

  10. I have to agree with Mimi. I love your work Lassal–you know that. I do understand what you are trying to present through your dialogue on it but it really did not connect pictures with story or even present a story for me. And then I found myself thinking the photo of you was staged or else not taken by you and by that token breaks the template.

    Congrats on getting featured Lassal. You are an incredibly talented photographer.

  11. MIMI…

    well i do know for sure that you would never DO a sequence like this…your fine work is straight but incisive documentary of the highest order, and that is what you appreciate…where you work is your world and you never travel very far from your base…fair enough…..this is not a criticism of you, just an observation……..and frankly, i see this as a very interesting exercise more than some definitive body of work…but does every essay just have to be a slam bam change the world photo j world press coverage of something really really important?? i think for many the answer is yes, and i respect that approach…but i cannot help myself ..i like a little satire a little comedy and sometimes just a little subtle revelation of the “unimportant” but lyrical kind

    i feel Lassal’s sequence is worth publishing here for two reasons…

    first, it is up close and personal…i mean really “in the mirror” seeing…i am always trying to get my students to see what is right in front of them and this is a good example…second, i am just fascinated by the relationship….can anyone help but be drawn into this relationship?? the story ??? i think this is a classic picture story ..this is about everyman…everywoman….and Lassal is narrating…and this is so NOT about hypothyroidism…..

    this is totally all about THE RELATIONSHIP ….i feel i can see the relationship between Lassal and Tone…this is a sequence clearly showing an aspect of a long term relationship…..does this look like a torrid one night stand??? hell no…this couple has been together a long time…..do you see this?

    the KEY is the iPod…..Tone is going to sleep every night with his iPod….very deliberate…hmmmm…maybe i am reading between the lines and Lassal might throw her shoe at me …. but at least i AM reading !!

    few essays get me to thinking…this one does…

    cheers, david

  12. Lassal…I really like the essay and your story. I especially liked how you showed yourself at the end. Being a person who has had a similar story of a period of medical mystery I could feel the personal connection you had to the work. Nice essay for Burn.

  13. I’m with Mimi on this one. Really didn’t evoke any sort of feeling or reaction from
    me other that it felt a little contrived.
    The images just didn’t develop into anything and the total lack of variety, apart from
    a mix of ipod,phone,etc stalled the group for me.
    Individually,most of the pairings would hold their own,stylistically,in an awards competition
    but as a group they were a bit ‘sleepy’.

  14. Well, burn is not the best place for publishing this kind of work. Or rather not Burn themself but internet magazine.
    people need fireworks, special effects, action, thriller and romance

  15. Typology

  16. Any series that finds me thinking about it later and going through it again has something special about it.
    Taking pictures of my family asleep was my favourite type of photo when i was a teenager…there’s something about it being so personal and intimate and so uncontrived, a whole secret world that you can’t get into and they can’t see out of that’s really tantalizing.
    And I like that there’s a reason to this too, a big part of your lives exposed.
    Thanks Lassal, HNY, and I hope you’re well now.

  17. Dearest David,
    Thanks for your kindest words and thorough explanation about the piece.
    Even if this is not my “style” of work, I would never object any story on this basis, my concern is more on this story itself.
    Just for example one of my really close relative (for privacy reasons I prefer not to say who exactly) is affected by the same terrible condition, so I know really really well what are the awful implications specially in the lost inner balance, both physical and mental.

    The problem I have, is not about sympathy for Lassal condition, I am extremely sorry for what she’s passing through. It is rather a critique on the choice to use a repetitive module throughout the sequence.
    I know that this choice/technique is really concise but it is also, to my advice, redundant.
    Too concise because the photos are not self explanatory or revealing of a condition, and I would like to see a better effort to PHOTOGRAPH (no matter in which style or aesthetic choice) a more articulated visual argument.

    Having said so, I must also totally respect your editorial choices and I truly believe that this variety of subjects and styles bring more flavour and solidity to such a beautiful platform that BURN is and will be.
    SO I totally back you on this and discussing on different views is healthy for us and for our photographic improvement.


  18. Good morning everybody,

    first of all, thanks really for taking your time to look at the images and to write a comment.
    Let me go through what is written and see if I can clarify here and there.

  19. mw
    thanks! ;)

    (that hotel bedspread was so bad, it was great!)
    thanks Audrey …
    I will be in England for some weeks in and around the end of June. Have to check if that collides with anything.

    I actually did not feel brave, but rather a bit desperate. Like trying to hold on to a handful of sand or water …
    I am very glad the doctors figured it out, indeed. For the two years before, they had wanted to treat me for BURN out. But how can you have burn out, when you are bursting with things you wanna do? No way.

    Hey Bill,
    very sweet of you … :):)

    It was in fact repetitive … for me, it had to be. On my website I show all the 82 images from the last days. When I started to take these pictures, I told myself I would stop as soon as my state was stable, and the doctors gave me a thumbs up as to: “ok, now this is how it is going to be from now on – get used to it”. And so I did.

    It could have taken 14 days, or 140. But 80+ was ok. It kind of conveys the notion that is was a long, long, long time. In fact it was a situation I was in for over 2 years. But I totally crashed right after our BURNbirthday last year. That is why I never came back to all of you for the beautiful submissions … :(

    The radio in the pictures was in fact crucial to me. Without that, it would have been more difficult to sell that it is not only about a sleeping person …

  20. Thomas
    yes, the cause was tough for me, but at the end it was not more than that: a cause. A lot of people have this health issue – it actually runs in my family, as I found out later!

    I was always an extremely headstrong person and – I have to admit – very arrogant towards people who were less disciplined. If there is something I learned with this, than to be more tolerant and humble and that sometimes the mind is not as strong as it wished to be. In fact my mind in this situation was just about as strong as a canary in a bird cage.

    But what I am doing wrong in this explanation is to stress the illness. It is not about the illness at all, it is about the situation that I got into because of that. It is about isolation in a partnership, about trying to hold on, about helplessness, about love for someone and drifting apart nonetheless … seeing it but not being able to do anything against it.

    It is so emotional, that I needed to find a symbolical vessel to carry this. That is why I choose the images of the bedside next to me.

    The last set of images was absolutely necessary to complete the picture. Also to balance things out. I am glad you see it so too.

    thanks so much! …
    Personal work is the easiest and more difficult to do. You just put so much more out there than a simple set of images. If Tone had not been totally easy about this, I would not have showed it here.

    :) thanks for your kind words … I really appreciate it.

  21. MIMI…

    again please, this is all interpretation on my part…it is NOT an explanation of the piece…Lassal has explained her medical condition and this is the resulting work…so we are all seeing something different here…and evidently i am the furthest off base from the artist intentions…

    yet this is a photo Rorschach test for sure…

    IF i did not read the text, then i would apply my interpretation or something close to it…this is quite obviously NOT Lassal’s INTENT…so we indeed are totally dependent on the text to see this as a manifestation of a medical condition and so i must bow to the artist declared intent…

    however , since it is indeed the drumbeat of repetition that either makes or breaks this sequence for some…the contradiction is of course the journalistic text and the not so journalistic visual representation which is what is causing the disparity of interpretation….besides, i do not think Lassal has even one bone of the photojournalist in her body….personally there is no way that i am ever going to see this symbolically as an essay about a medical condition even if it is about a medical condition which is what i believe it to be or at least the intention of Lassal as so stated……however, i doubt if Lassal showed this sequence to a total stranger without explanation or text, that this stranger would think they were looking at pictures of a med condition…she should try it….nor would the title suggest that this was to be an essay on the results of medical trauma…just show the title and the pictures to someone walking down the street and ask them what they think they are seeing…i would really be curious…

  22. Mimi, Lee

    I was expecting/hoping/fearing such a comment, so I have to thank you that you came up with it in such a nice way. If it had not come up, then probably just because nobody deared to say it.

    You are right. There are a lot of pictures showing someone sleeping over and over, but actually it shows the bedside next to mine when I go to sleep and when I wake up. Tone just sometimes happend to be there and sometimes not. And when he was there, in fact, he was sleeping. I was not trying to take a picture of him sleeping, he jus WAS sleeping. It was actually very sad.

    These images were originally made for him, and not for publication. To show my partner that I was well aware of the situation I brought upon us, that I watched him every night and that I was very sorry. And much more. I think – I hope! – that it showed that if I did not care for him, I would not have bothered to do this. That even if he only witnessed me sleeping throughout the day, I was very well aware of him. These images were to be a gift for him, and I actually feared at that point that it could become a farewell gift.

    So the images in this case show the facts – they are a straight documentation – but the story unfolds between the lines. As in so many relationships …

    And time is crucial for this “story”, thus the long sequence of over 80 diptychs is important, it is not about one displaced day (night) without communication, lovemaking etcetc. It is about a time span that felt as it was forever. Repetitive, yes, unfortunately, repetitive, repetitive, repetitive, repetitive … so too repetitive … And every day a bit sadder. And every day I felt more guilty. The repetitiveness made it. And the nightmarish feeling of knowing what is happening without being able to do anything about it.

    So it is not about my illness, which I share with many people – but about what it caused to the one single most important thing in my life. And I am positive that similar situations are all around us – for different reasons – couples sliding into various states of “disencounters” with or without being aware of it.

    I really hope this clarified it a bit. Please tell me if not.
    This is not a big PROJECT for a universal audience, it is a small gift for one person.
    But it is about something, that I think (hope) many people can relate to. Even though, if I had made it for “many people”, I probably would have made it differently. As it is now, I am glad I did not.

  23. Lance,

    thanks so much for your kind words and explanation. I always need so many words to explain something … That is why images often work so much better for me.

    Simplicity. Yes, I wanted it as simple as possible, because I wanted to stay between the lines without illustrating (you know, the white pills in your hand etc, what you see so often when it comes to illness and medication). Also, if I had chosen complex images, I think it would have taken the focus away from what I wanted to state and placed it too much onto the images themselves. And that would actually have been crazy, because I shot them in the dark, holding the camera over my head – with very little control. I just aimed at one point and tried to get it more or less straight, without cutting his head off in the picture. And without having to take multiple shots with the flash. I did not want to wake him. Thankfully he has a deep sleep.

    Also I liked the notion of having little control over the images … it reflected the way I felt. Because of the nature of the concept, I could surrender to not having the total control over the images. But with this, for me it was also obvious, that it was not ABOUT the single images. For me, in their simplicity, they only work as a sequence.

  24. @ Lassal and David,
    I do not have any issue to the words explaining or introducing a series of images. I rather think this is appropriate and essential for a complete understanding of one’s work.
    The issue here is related to why there is a growing need to make public some very intimate and personal events of our life.
    I see this as (please do excuse my being frank) forcing the viewer of this type of works, to become some sort of psychoanalyst, a counsellor.
    Now, if this is happening through a series of images that articulate better the issue lived by you, then I have room to interact better with the subject. But if both content and form are virtually encrypted, then, I am only left with the possibility to say: “Good!” or “Bad!”
    Don’t you think?

  25. DAH,

    thanks …! Also for your thoughts. You saw more than I was hoping for.

    You probably well remember how reluctant I was at first to publish Disencounters here. I had shown you the first 16 images while I was still shooting, because I had to stop working on all my other series. And I did want to show you that I was still clinging on with my fingernails. :)

    I truly did not expect you to ask me to submit Disencounters for publication here. I think I even choose to ignore the first time you asked me, because I did first have to wrap my head around this thought … Sorry for that. :)

    Most important of all: I needed to do my outing towards Tone and ask HIM first! I had no idea how he would receive it, what he would think. I mean, he is not naked or exposing himself in an indeecent way on any image, but I am exposing him and US nonetheless. And if he had not just laughed and taken me into his arms, I would not have submitted.

    As it is, I am very glad and thankful to be able to show it here. It is actually relieving. I feel lighter.

    … The radio every night. You are totally right! That was the one thing that I thought could get the point across to others – but few seem to have noticed.
    He really was very alone, was he not? So sad … But he never actually said anything. He never ever once complained. That is him. I always blabber and he is so … I do not know … patient?

    I saw the radio, too … In the pictures, when I looked at them later. And I totally flinched. Thus I was hoping the radio would do the job. Just as you said, it was definitively a key element in there.

    Thanks, David.

  26. Imants

    Thanks. Yess … mystery, indeed. It is quite telling that one of the symptomes of this illness is depression. It messes up your life and you have no clue what is happening. On the other hand side, I am glad it was not a burn out. :)

    Anyway. Whatever the illnesses and hefty experiences we as humans go through – and mine is definitively not extreme compared to others – it really is one of these lessons that can teach us what matters. I have heard this sentence unnumerous times and as someone who has used up all his cat’s lives already, I know that there were times, when I felt I knew what it meant, and how important it is.

    But then it slipps again into muddy nowhereland in the back of the consciousness. In a way that is hard to recognize. I would have sworn it was still there.
    Guess that this is the strengh and the weakness of being human. We can deal with a lot before we break – especially if it comes slowly – the danger is that we get used to unhealthy situations and start to consider them as being normal.

  27. mw
    yes, for me the timestamp is important.
    I planned it to be the only text in the whole thing.

    thanks for taking your time to comment, even if the images did not evoke anything in you. That is totally fine. In fact I think, maybe, that you have to feel a bit of a deja vu, to understand it. If this is the case – and I do not know if it is, it just came to my mind now as a possibility – then I am happy for you and wish that you will never feel it.
    On the other hand side … through movies and literature we are trained in many emotions that we might not personally have experienced in our immediate lives … So maybe what I said above does not fit at all. Or my images just do not fit to communicate this to you.
    Thanks again.

    yeah … maybe. I agree it is not the perfect medium. But then … how many people do we need? Like with friends … how many real friends do we need? Not many. But you need to go through a lot of aquaintances to come up with these few real friends. Most of the times at least. Seeing it this way, the internet is definitively a chance to reach out to more people.

    John Gladdy
    I actually do not know how it happened. I had the text on my website corrected twice and then I copy and pasted it in one go into the submission form. Even not wanting to put my hand into the fire for the correct typology of my original text, I noticed also that the two texts are not the same anymore. I have no idea how they came to be. Can Copy&Paste be sabotaged??

  28. Lassal. I was referring to the essay itself being a typology. Didnt even notice if there were spelling errors….but then I have it on the highest authority that I am the worst speller in the biz :)

  29. Vicky
    thanks for your kind words. Yess … better now. Thankfully.

    thanks for pointing Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” out. It is a great movie and I love it a lot. But it is about something totally different. I am sorry I did not manage to get my

    the text is mostly to define the circumstances that lead to the idea. I do not have it in Tone’s book, he is well aware of the situation. Other people are obviously not. I thought it could be important to explain the state of awareness I was in. But yes, maybe it was superfluous. If I had not been aware of it, I would not have taken the images. If I had this be my normal and accepted life, I could not have cared less …

  30. Lassal, I really really love it! :))

    Repetition and very small differences between each photos makes some concepts.

    I feel your pains and uneasiness … but you depict it in a quiet tone …. That makes this essay very nice.:))

    Congratulations and Thanks to you!!

  31. Hi Mimi,

    sorry, I am going about this in order of how the comments came up. So I just read this now:

    “The issue here is related to why there is a growing need to make public some very intimate and personal events of our life.
    I see this as (please do excuse my being frank) forcing the viewer of this type of works, to become some sort of psychoanalyst, a counsellor.”

    Most things are intimate and personal in some point. If you document HIV, hunger, slum housing situations, portraits etc, do you not think that this is intimate and personal? It might not be for the photographer but it definitively is for the people depicted on the images. That is one of the reasons why the topic “exploitation” keeps coming up. I totally do not want to dive into these waters now, but just wanted to point that out quickly.

    The other thing is when you say that the viewer is forced to see this. How so? How can I force you or anyone to have a look on my images? Am I standing there with a gun behind you? Not so. It is your own free will to spend some part of your lifetime with whatever you choose to look at. At least I hope so. And actually, even if you might regret it now, I am glad you did spend some time here and make these comments. I find them important.

    Our world is full of visual messages, like street signs. And if we do not want to go mad or drive with 10mph through the streets, we should learn quickly which visual messages are important four our given situation. It is not possible to take it all. It is not necessary either. Would it be better to eliminate some of these messages? Probably. But what? And who shall decide?

  32. Lassal, I really really love it! :))

    Repetition and very small differences between each photos makes some concepts.
    I feel your pains and uneasiness of insomnia…
    but you depicted it in a quiet tone …. That makes this essay very nice.:))

    Congratulations and Thanks to you!!

    p.s. I missed one word … so i corrected it… thank you :)

  33. yes, for me the timestamp is important.
    I planned it to be the only text in the whole thing.

    I think it would be stronger that way, but few people would probably take the time and effort to figure it out.

  34. Lassal. I really, really love it also. Like all good photography, it’s about being alive in this world. Congratulations.

  35. Kyunghee Lee,
    your “Islands” book is on my table right now. So beautiful … such a deep song about life … like the quiet murmuring of water. I wonder how you would have approached this topic of mine. You would have made something eternally beautiful out of it, no doubt.
    Thank you so much for your kind words … I will write you soon, I am very VERY behind with everything.

  36. Kyunghee Lee
    “Island”! What an unfortunate typo on my part. Sorry!!!

    John …
    so much for typos.
    My comments are probably full of them. I often just notice that something sounds funny, but do not see the mistake. I really hope I get it across. The more specific one wants to be the more difficult and complex a language gets.

  37. Lassal,
    You miss understood my comment, or maybe I should just rephrase it.
    I didn’t say you force us to see the essay. I meant that this kind of intimate takes on one’s personal events, drive the viewer, in this context, to necessarily become nothing more than a counsellor, as the only fitting comments could solely be related to your issue and not to the photographic essay itself, that to me looks photographically incomplete or monotonous.
    I understand you wanted to convey a repetitive and frustrating feeling but I believe this nevertheless remains a far too personal affair.

  38. mw

    “I think it would be stronger that way, but few people would probably take the time and effort to figure it out.”

    I agree. This was not planned to be a slideshow, but a book. It is easy to do this in a book – I could use a small typo, that is there without being in the way too much. The typo would have been too prominent and too big in comparison to the images, if I had let it in the diptychs. These elemrnts are quite important for me, especially when there are not many elements to begin with. So I ended up putting the timestamp into the caption. Not the perfect solution, but the best I saw for this slideshow.

  39. Lassal…

    My comment above had two parts. The second was made with my tongue pressed firmly in my cheek. The first was made with a straight face, and l should expand on it a bit…

    Using photography as a therapeutic device is in the core of most personal projects. A recurrent thought, or feeling, or dream, or a daily reality that we cannot escape, is usually what sparks a project idea. The need to express visually something, in the hopes that we’ll be able to better understand it, cope with it, and in the end—if we succeed—communicate it with others. This use of photography is what separates personal from commercial/editorial/for-hire work.

    In this context, I always admire people who have the courage to turn their cameras on their own lives, as you do here. And for the record, I do connect with your project idea since I’ve always had problems with my sleep, and especially when under pressure I find myself lying in bed for hours twisting and turning. So, these pictures are quite familiar… but…

    Even though I don’t have any advice to offer as to what is missing or what you woulda/coulda/shoulda have done differently, the final result of your effort just does not work for me.

    Don’t know if you have seen Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry”… your project presented here is like the first part of the film… you kind of need a second part in order for the frustration to have any meaning on a universal level… don’t know if the example I just used speaks to you at all, but it’s the best I can do right now… I think that there is substance in this essay, but it needs something more.

    Also, please know that I always appreciate your writings here and your ability and willingness to share your insights into your creative process.

  40. Theodoris,
    Sorry but I must disagree with your definition of personal work.
    Personal work does not uniquely consist of self-portraiture (in which ever sense and fashion this might be).
    A personal work, in the documentary photography context, is a work that has not been commissioned by any third party and it translates into a photo essay where our personal views on a given subject are the main drive throughout the story.

    Sorry for the intrusion in your direct dialogue with Lassal.

  41. Mimi,
    hmmm, sorry if I missunderstood and thanks for rephrasing it.

    Well, that was definitively a risk I did run with this approach. I obviously (at least I hope it is obvious – maybe I am mistaken) did not want this to be solely about my personal relationship when I submitted it here. But obviously I was not sure if it would work. David thinks it works, some others also do. Some might know me and think it is merely about me and do not mind it. And some might think it totally does NOT work – like you are doing. That is ok. That is why we are discussing it. That is why I am happy to get feedback. There is no checklist for this beforehand. And yes, it can always go totally different than expected. In this case I was not really trying to expect anything. So to get specific feedback is a good thing.

    My personal relationship is exactly that: my personal relationship, and as I am not any celebrity, it is probably only interesting to myself and the people close to me. My relationship with Tone is, just as one of these pictures, not more and not less than one possible variation of indefinitively many others, that will all be similar and different to a certain degree. But I really think that all relationships that involve love, do have certain parameters, and can encounter similar problems along the way: fear of loss, solitude, etc. And with thus they become comparable.

    Oh, and I definitively do not want councelling! I now thankfully found good doctors for that, and that is their job and they are better suited for it too. At least some of them are ;) ;)

    Believe me, if I were still in the phase where I thought I needed councelling, I would not have agreed to publish this here. I have moved on. And that is good, I have more than a year to catch up to! :)

  42. Lassal, I looked at this work and then went away – but I keep coming back for another look: its strangely mesmerising!

    Hope you are feeling well again.


  43. Thodoris,

    … :))
    I am needing so much time to write these comments, that my English teacher would probably resign his job if he knew of it. I do not know HOW on earth you do it to be so eloquent!!

    Thanks for clarifying what you meant. I will definitvely look Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” up and mull your imput over. Thanks for being so constructive and investing so much time. I really appreciate it.

    thanks, yes. I still sleep too much at the wrong times of the day and cannot wear all of my clothes, but otherwise I am great.
    Thank you :)

  44. Lassal…

    You don’t know the half of it… I refrain from participating in dialogue exactly because I find it too hard to express myself properly… it takes me massive amounts of time and energy… but I did enjoy “wasting” most of my day on your work today :))

    And big congrats on taking something negative in your life and turning it into something positive…


    My definition of personal work is the same as yours…

    I just think that there is something more to it… a deeper force/need that comes into play when we decide to work on personal projects (eg self funded work)…

    I believe that on some level we do so because we have unresolved issues with our chosen subject matter, that we try to resolve (either consciously or unconsciously) by engaging with it through our photography… hence the “…using photography as a therapeutic device…” …of course, this is my personal take on things, and it might not apply to others…

  45. Now the one thing that has happened due to my reading your further comments is I am mad at him! Life is messy; you can’t have the good without the “bad”. Now I am way out there I guess.

  46. I think that if a photographer made one essay in the context of their own life, the exploitation from others gets into another context. Having the own life, the own pictures in an essay published also means you put yourself into the spot you would bring others when you report on HIV, or any other things.

    This essay goes beyond a story about “Tone, Lassal and the sleep”, it shows the consequences of your deficiency. Maybe a stronger pointing away to more general could be by providing some statistics. However, I am not sure if that made it better. It already works for me as it stands.

  47. Lee
    geeez, whom are you mad at? Who is “him”?

    “You don’t know the half of it… I refrain from participating in dialogue exactly because I find it too hard to express myself properly… it takes me massive amounts of time and energy… but I did enjoy “wasting” most of my day on your work today :))”

    If that is the case, Thodoris, then you definitively do a better job “wasting” your time than I do. Where do you get your vocabulary from?!
    Can you believe I spent the whole of today just writing my few comments?

    And thanks for “wasting” your time on me!! :):):)

    statistics … hmmm.
    Well, I guess it could be included into a book, if there were a book. Just a couple of sentences like in BrandEins, instead of any other introductiory text. But … I actually do not see it. I do not even see a book published, for that matter … :)
    At least not besides that one single copy for Tone.

  48. Lassal…
    You have used photography to prove your love, when you thought your love was lost or at least in doubt. What is there more authentic than this?
    Does it work? is it monotonous? I am in no position to judge I´m too new round here… This essay is honest like all true love.

  49. Lassal wrote, “Or my images just do not fit to communicate this to you.”

    This may be part of it but,more likely,it is more of a commentary on my
    ability,or willingness,to react to more esoteric imagery than what normally creates
    an impression on me.

  50. LASSAL,

    Congratulations on your publication here!! This morning, on my way out from my parents in the South of France to drive 10 hours back to Belgium, I had just couple of minutes and saw that your essay was up…. Just managed to glance at it and I certainly did not have time to comment then but I thought it would trigger some interesting exchanges during the day and it certainly did…. This morning, as I stated, I was in a rush and somehow, I did not have time to “penetrate” into the mood of the essay which indeed seemed repetitive… this evening, I had more time to “soak it up” and it worked for me…. This is obviously a very personal piece of work but the “feelings” you portray here, I think, are universal… Without even going to the extreme of a health trouble, I do not know of any couple who has not faced a time of “disencounters”…. period during which the two are unable to connect somehow, speak, fail to talk, exchange… two strangers each into their own world, sleeping side by side… in that context, the somewhat monotonous repetition of the images was key… each image per say does not have anything special (apart from the last one :):)) but it would be wrong to separate them….it is more of a conceptual piece and it works as a complete set….

    Beyond the essay Lassal, I am happy you are well now… I was aware you had a tough period but did not quite grasp what it was…. You are a real artist Lassal and I am so impressed by your ability to come up with conceptual ideas… this essay is just an example but there will be many more I am sure…

    Take good care and happy new year to you…this is a great way to start the year:):).



    PS: By the way, I remember Audrey saying you are not photogenic…the last picture proves her wrong :):)

  51. Hi Lassal, viel Glueck fuer die Fortfuehrung des Projektes ! Auf 2 Fotos verstehe ich da etwas nicht, aber auch egal.

  52. I saw a thread where Lassal was afraid her illness would kill the relationship with her. Did I not read that? Maybe I am as I said way out there. Ignore my comments.

  53. Lassal, Lee…

    I think I see a slight mis-reading/understanding. All is good.

    Lassal.. very much enjoyed this essay. Brilliant idea, especially given the circumstances. Good to see it here at Burn!

    Be well.


  54. LASSAL

    Great to see your work here on burn, congrats…

    I’ve found myself coming back to these images and going over them several times. I find them fascinating… The transition of time and how photography can catch something of that is of great interest to me, especially on an intimate day-to-day level. I think you’ve captured this very well.
    And perhaps quite bravely (I could not execute something so conceptual without the fear of it becoming too pretentious, but somehow you’ve managed to do it and keep it real!).

    Your use of light is wonderful, I love the (mostly) white on white, the scrunched up pillow and duvet texture, the sometimes silky sheen… and the monotony… i can almost here the clock tick tocking…

    I can easily see this series printed large and exhibited.

    Question: does Tone always sleep with the i-pod or did you shoot/edit it that way?

    Also, this Hypothyroidism… I can deeply sympathise as Yael is at present dealing with a similar Thyroid condition. At these times we realise just how easy it is to take our health for granted…

    be well, and well done Lassal.



  55. Musing about Lee’s comment and it had me thinking about how passive the subject of the photograph can sometimes appear to be, (obviously that’s the case in a series of sleeping pictures), and how we can read a different story than the photographers intent.
    I suppose the viewers could feel a frustration towards Tony in that Lassal is the poorly one and we see her as the one who is concerned about the effect the illness has on the relationship and we see her working on these pictures as a gift to show how much she is aware of him/them but we don’t get to see Tony in any situation other than feeling isolated….the help he is giving Lassal and his worries and attempts to be supportive are absent here even even though he will be going through all this too.
    It’s just interesting to me to think how our work can be viewed in ways quite different to our intention.

  56. I have a confession to make…I love to sleep, the siesta is a way of life in our home, kids in bed…shall we stay up ?
    No! sleep awaits lets get up at 4 and spend the morning together!

    I like this essay because when Lassal was feeling vulnerable she has photographed her lover at his most vulnerable, photographing sleeping people is a hard act to pull off.
    I fell asleep while travelling on a train with another photographer, when I woke up I asked her ” did you photograph me?”
    She said ” No!”
    Time and distance grinds on,she falls asleep.
    on awakening she asks, “did you take any pictures?”
    I say ” No!”
    An intimacy exists between people who have seen each other sleep…even strangers.
    Thanks Lassal , I think you pulled it off!

  57. Vicky,

    “It’s just interesting to me to think how our work can be viewed in ways quite different to our intention.”

    that is photography in a nut shell, Gary Winogrand said ‘you know what something looked like, but you don’t know whats happening… …they (photos) tell you what something looked like, to a camera. the minute you relate this thing (photo) to what was photographed it’s a lie. it’s two dimensional, it’s the illusion of what was…’

  58. crumpled sheets
    lack of…..
    I love the shot of YOU at the end….
    and your concept….
    might be interesting to see a shot of what YOU are doing at 2.17 in the morning…
    but i like the quietness of your photos….
    I also get a feeling of a film set with this series….
    I’m so glad that you are finally feeling better…
    GREAT to see your work here :)

  59. I applaud all such intimate work as this. Intimacy in photography is tough.

    We’ve all seen nudity and sex in photography. Is it intimate? Not always sure about that. But sleep, that’s intimacy. I guess it’s the vulnerability. When one is so completely at rest in one’s own private space.

    I’ve never really shown any intimate photographs publicly. Showing them publicly is where the bravery lies. This is brave work. I’ve been brave enough to shoot in hostile situations. I’m brave enough to make photographs of strangers in public and to show the work to a wide audience. But I’ve never shown my most intimate work. I’m just not sure I want to. It’s a difficult area for me.

    Powerful work, Lassal. Well done.

    yes, you are sharp as ever. I whish you had written earlier :)

    Oh, and I am not going to separate the last image from the rest! We only had to reduce it for BURN … On my website you can just go through the images in the slideshow really fast, but on BURN it would have driven everybody crazy, I fear :)
    So David did an edit for the magazine. And that was a good thing.

    On my site I show it in the calendary sequence and like I did it in the book for Tone, with an empty page/frame before the last pair of images – which were made by Tone AFTER I told him about the whole thing. So we have a breather there – preparing for the switch – stressing the change of parameters. But for BURN that was not really necessary, I think. There were not too many pictures to make this little effect really stick out.

    Thanks for your kind words, Eric. I still hope you are going to proceed with your “skating kids” – the first images, that you showed me, were amazing as always. I really hope your job will leave you enough time to continue this work.

    And as to the photogenic … hahaha … Audrey is RIGHT! I guess I just look relaxed on this picture here because I was dreaming something really nice. :)

  61. KH,
    Danke, danke. Ich glaube, ich habe Dir Deine Frage schon via Skype beantwortet … oder? :)
    Melde Dich, wenn Du wieder in China bist!
    Hier ging es jetzt drunter und drüber die letzten Tage … Kannst Du Dir sicher vorstellen … :)

    how sweet … Don’t worry … We are still here. All is fine.

    :) Thanks!


    I was worrying about you! Have not checked where exactly the floods are, but I know that you live(d?) a bit off the main region. Hope you are ok???

    Thanks for your nice words, Sam, … really … You know, all these thoughts you mention, the fear of appearing pretentious etc. I did not have them, because I was not planning to show the work in public. If I had started this with BURN in my mind, or any other form of public exhibition, I would have gone about this differently. If it had not been for David (and Tone), I would not have shown this work here. So obviously I did not worry about all the issues that could arise while I was shooting.

    As to your questions concerning the radio: he is using it NOW, still, when he remembers. I guess he got used to being the best informed man in the neighborhood during my illness-stint. You really could ask him anything during that time, as he was listening to world service all night long. He must have even DREAMT about the news! Crazy!

    I hope Yael is doing fine … a big hug from me!

    yes, true. Once the pictures are out there… generally you loose control.

    But I really hope nobody feels frustrated about Tone. He does not deserve it at all.
    And actually, in having him be the active part for the last pair of images, I think it made the difference that I wanted. That is why this pair was very important for me to balance the situation out.


    yessss, indeed … for me sleep is quite central too. Most of my ideas come up during or around the time I am asleep. I always keep a notebook next to me in my bed. While I was studying architecture, I even kept my huge drawings next to me. I had a large bed. :)

    And thanks for your thoughts … indeed … people are helpless and defenseless when they sleep. Thus vulnerable. No mask. No weapon … fragile.

    poetic … as always.
    How do you do that? :)
    I really thank you…!

    And to answer your question: i did some ceiling pictures during that time – maybe even at 2:17 on a specific day … I always do ceiling pictures … quite an obsession. I have thousands from that period of my life.

    Other than that, I was mostly awake, tossing, … trying to fall asleep.


    I agree that there are different kinds of bravery, and that depending on the character of an individual, one type of bravery is harder to do than another.

    So for me, of all that you have mentioned, to shoot in an hostile situation – war maybe – seems to be the hardest. I never did it, so I do not know. On the other hand side, I thought that I would have a hard time shooting strangers, but once I tried it (in DAH’s workshop in Tuscany :) I found that it was actually a fun thing to do most of the times. So sometimes you have to do something to find out, how hard it is. And maybe you will be surprised about yourself as I was … :)

    Do you remember Patricia Lay Dorsey’s “Falling into Place”? THAT was brave! It is a pity she left BURN …

  64. Lassal, where’s Patricia? I missed her leaving. Did she announce? What were her reasons? Sad to have missed that but I miss a lot of stuff here at Burn as my life is chaotic much of the time.

  65. PAUL….

    Patricia said she left because she was getting too stressed out on the sometimes negativity here in comments…when i looked at the dialogue i could find no negativity directed at her imo…but she is in fragile health and some things that would not affect most of us, can play hard on her…i do keep in touch with Patricia by e-mail and she is doing just fine…

  66. Lassal; I love this. It is so devastatingly simple and effective. I admire any photographer who is prepared to show something so personal off to the world, I’m not sure if I ever could.

    I like the repetitiveness; it truly serves its purpose. It is also a piece that needs the text you provided for context.

    As for your worries about your partner (and relationship) being affected by your illness; well that’s just human nature on your part. Totally understandable.

    Congratulations on being published and for having the guts to bare your life to the world!

  67. Lassal

    the WA floods were in the north of the state and we are 1600km’s away in the south. (also floods way over in eastern states). so yes still here… longest period of my adult life without any travel… starts to feel a bit frustrating, but patience is a good teacher… (who am i kidding!!!).

    BBC World Service… love it! when we lived in India i had a small radio and i listened everyday. i could only get it for a few hours as the signal rolled in and out, plenty of good documentary’s, arts reviews, interviews etc. and of course every saturday was the football! weird and wonderful to listen to the half time match reports from around england, cold and windy from my tropical porch under the starry indian night.

    Yael is ok, better than she has been, but still dealing with it. her situation is that she has an auto immune disease of the thyroid, so her thyroid is swollen. she feels very weak, slight fever daily, emotionally unbalanced etc. but the aussie doctors won’t prescribe any medicine until the thyroid deteriorates! go figure that one. so she is seeing a chinese herbalist, who is helping quite nicely but we are still in the middle of it…

  68. It’s probably me, but i find this work way too “cerebral” for my taste. I mean, the photos are beautiful and pleasing to the eye in the way they’re done, but upon reading the commentary i think they don’t convey the message the right way.

    What i get from all this is a guy who’s in deep sleep, who likes to listen to music right before sleeping. But it’s hard to see all the distance, out-of-placeness and all that the author describes in the words above.

    I repeat, maybe it’s just me.


  69. Lassal:

    just got in from the airport….ironically, no sleep for 28 hrs straight…flights….must go to bed, afraid i will sleep through the alarm and miss teaching…

    no energy to write for a couple days, only thisL

    some keys…

    the ear-phones (music of Lassal voice as a lullaby)

    the sleeper covered with clothes….

    Francis Bacon…

    Joseph Beuys…

    Arnaud Maggs…

    typology as archaeology

    the ferocious loneliness of insomnia

    the ferocious loneliness of sleeping alone

    Bernd and Hilla Becher….

    Wenders’ Im Lauf der Zeit

    and this…and i hope, more in 3 days when i recover my physical/mental strength…

    and this…..

    In der Provinz 4

    Wie der Gekreuzigte lag dieser Frosch
    Plattgewalzt auf dem heißen Asphalt
    Der Landstraße. Offenen Mauls

    Bog sich zum Himmel, von Sonne gedörrt,
    Was von fern einer Schuhsohle glich –
    Ein Amphibium aus älterer Erdzeit,
    Unter die Räder gekommen im Sprung.

    Keine Auferstehung als in den Larven
    Der Fliegen, die morgen schlüpfen werden.

    Durch welche Öffnung entweicht der Traum?
    –Durs Grünbein

  70. and this lassal….only because i don;t have the faculties to write a bobblack comment, but i shall in a few tdays….instead, this too…:)))

    running to bed

  71. Lassal, so nice to see your images here on burn! Congratulations!
    Tony and the location looked familiar to me. I remember our burn meeting a year ago with Thomas and Dominik in your apartment. At first I thought it is a study of hibernating. Then I read the text and remembered we talked about your health problems last summer. Glad you found a way to handle it!
    You express this time with your images in a surprising way! Very simple images with some little details and plenty of room and space that can say so much. I like your approach very much!
    Sorry, I am in a hurry. Hope we can talk soon!
    Sunny greetings from Santiago de Chile!

  72. Will have to come back to this with more time.. one thing that goes through my mind right now is how different this would look if I would go back 80+ nights and make these pictures.. glad you figured out what was wrong, always the hardest part, once you nail down the cause you can work on the solution..

  73. “Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.”– Nietzsche

    I love this essay, start to finish…in fact, my ONLY lament is god-damned, it is way way way too short….i mean, the more pictures one encounters the more i needed more….their ‘similarity’ and ‘repetitive’ form is not only their beauty but is the way into the peculiarities of each individual diptych…really, they reminded me of francis bacon…….i can’t think of a more brilliant way to show just how unique each night really is, in the movement of our bodies, the expressions on the face, the joy and pain and exhaustion and hilarity, then in this rigorous attention to form through the replication….

    by constraining each diptych to essentially the same formal constraints (2 pictures, 1 with sleeping person, 1 without, shot overhead during sleep and after sleep, ext), the viewer really gets a window into each of the details, the amazing details found in each: the different folds of the bed, the facial expressions, the positions of the body, the placement of the body in time, covering head/face, etc…as MW has dated, the timestamp is not only formally necessary (and aesthetically lovely) as a integral part, but adds to the specificity…the fight against the prosaic…with each passing image, i wanted to see more and more (i still do)…the repetition did not add to tedium, but build momentum….


    for example, the genius of Arnaud’s entire photographic live is just that exploration…i wish i could find you his 100 Views of Joseph Beuys….it’s brilliant…but here is his series on Kertez…


    and since then he’s moved on to the taxonomy of colors and letters and postcards…for me, he is one of the great photographic minds of the late 20th century…and he’s not that well known….but, anyway, look him up Lassal…

    it is that very concept of repetition that allows for the particular to emerge, details we might not have even noticed or thought about if lassal hadn’t constrained her concept….

    but besides the obvious formal power of the conceit what i love about this series is the intimacy…the intimacy of the quotidian….that it charges us….because that final image of lasal asleep is what makes the poignancy so dramatic…it is what allows us to feel her, rather than just the formal qualities of the piece and the playful intelligence of it…


    but a conceptual idea, for me at least, must carry with it the spirit of emotion that defines, for me, art…that is, what makes something still more about the REASON that compelled the piece and not just it’s formal quality: that is the human….

    and all the strict and haiku-like form of this essay, it leaves for me such a profoundly melancholic feeling, a sense of division and loneliness that really touched me…

    but maybe that’s because i often have terrible bouts of insomnia (sometimes from medical issues, somethings for other reasons) and Marina also struggled with this (still does) profoundly….for those who have never wrestled with prolonged sleep pattern changes or the effects they have on a relationship, I can attest to the powerful emotions that undercurrent this piece….

    wilding and thrashing as one attempts to gain something so prosaic, so much given so easily and a birth right and is so often taken away, the simple ability to sleep properly and in tune with another person….such a small thing that has such large consequences when not granted….

    and ache that does more than thrash, but brutalizes…and can brutalize couples as well…

    and that is what struck me most profoundly about this piece…

    beyond all the talk of it’s formal and conceptual strengths, i saw this essay very simply:

    as an a love letter to Lassal’s partner….her love and admiration and strength for him…

    does this piece not ache with love and tenderness and heartbreak…

    and that is the scale of intimacy that so power and is always such a strong part of Lassal’s richly and deeply intelligent projects:

    they are, at their heart, about the intimacy of human relationship, regardless of their architecture…

    beautiful and so happy to see this hear lassal…


  74. Ok. I’ve been through the pictures quite a few times now, both here and on your site, Lassal.

    To me this piece of work has a totally different impact, even after having read (after viewing) the statement and the comments. To me it speaks of stability (Konstanz). I cannot see or feel isolation or any negative feeling, besides perhaps a bit of boredom, looking at the longer version.

    Without the statment I could not tell this was done because of a health issue on your part, I don’t know you so for what I know it could simply have been a study, an exercize of some sort.. On an emotional level it falls a bit short for me.

    I admit that I’m not very keen of conceptual photography, so that’s a shortcoming on my side. But being aware of it does make me take the time to take a deeper and closer look.

    Or perhaps there’s no need to feel what you wanted to convey and I can just go with what it speaks to me..

  75. SAM
    great you are safe of the flood, and sorry that you are suffering under draught.
    What a crazy world this is…
    Sure hope things balance out down there quickly.

    thank you for taking the time to comment.
    That is totally fine.

    amazing, as always.
    Your head always seems full of firework!
    And where on earth did you find that poem.
    I just read it aloud to Tone and we are both smiling.

    And yes … that youtube video… You got there one of my all time favorit scenes from Mr. Wim Wenders.
    I did a storyboard for an Afri Cola spot once, that he directed – what a guy!
    Thanks for the link … I did not know one could find that scene online.

    yes, you know our appartment! It was good to have you here and I hope to see you here again soon.
    I am also VERY glad to hear, all is well in your part of Chile.
    Thanks for commenting … we will talk soon!

  76. EVA
    that is totally cool.

    See, my statement was just to define the setting in which I started to do the images.
    It is NOT about my illness – the helath issue is merely the cause. The awareness is the effect.

    And of course you are right: once the images are out … then they will have to survive by themselves and will be judged by people as is comes. That is fine.

    Thank you for taking you time to comment, Eva, I really appreciated it!

  77. LASSAL ! :)))

    i LOVE LOVE this longer version….so so gorgeous :))))…well, you know me…i prefer the long edits all the time :)))…what i love about his 80 cut piece is that it is even more specific…all the variations…the change of mattress/bed sheeting, the stains that appear, the positions, the gestures, the creases in the bed, the distance…it’s delirium…real and beautiful delirium…and of course, i love the introduction of the images with no one in them, makes for a nice break so that we long for the human again….i love this so much…though I totally understand why some viewers wouldn’t make it, i think the long edit is even greater in it’s impact and in it’s payback…..but either way, i still love this short haiku version that you and David have published…it is still gorgeous…

    as for all those fireworks in my head…well, who knows how i remember all this shit…but i do…as for the Grünbein poem, well, i discovered him a couple of years ago when he was here in toronto reading…he’d won an award for Ash breakfast or something…and well…he’s one of my fave contemp poets…and the last light of the poem i quote here is extraordinary….

    adn for Winders….well…what else to say about that scene ;))))

    and enjoy Arnaud Maggs…he is genius of a high order…and a remarkably kind man….marina and i had the pleasure and honor or meeting him at an opening…i even wrote a poem for him…but you’ll have to wait ’til the book is done to read that ;)))

    I’m so happy david published this…it is such a terrific and smart and LOVING piece…and i really hope people take a look at the long edit too….it might help them get this…

    then again, i like endless books and movies ;))))

    big hugs :)))

  78. Lassal, yes, the images have to stand, and I don’t say they do not, only that I get a different feeling of what most or all of the other viewers here do. I wonder how the reactions would have been if this work would have come without statement at all, without comments from you or those knowing about what was going on…

    Certainly there is a message there, esp. in the long version..

  79. dear lassal, very impressive work and conceptual idea. really glad you bought that camera some years ago and that you are applying your talents in the photographic world too, ciao ciao Thomas

  80. Dear LASSAL –

    I haven’t been around here all too much recently due to kind of a rough patch I’m just coming out of (long story, maybe to be cut short on a coffeebreak?!), but I found it more than appropriate to start “coming back” with your essay, which moved me very much. Finding a place not only in one’s own life but also by the side of somebody else is just as hard as staying there.
    Anyways, I’m very glad to see your essay here on BURN – congratulations!
    Hope to talk soon, big hug,


  81. hi lassal..

    on first viewing – a story about a bed and the people who occupy it .. impressions and remnants of their slumbers .. gentle & warm .. nightnight.
    the photos then became a love-poem once i had read your text ..

    the concept of photographing only one of the many changes which surround an illness really works – it is honest ..
    the subtlety, and restraint of the essay speak volumes about the mundane, frustrating and repetitive nature of being unwell.. becoming a slave to medicine and doctors appointments due to something inside us which is beyond our control.

    hope you are looking after yourself and all is well at home.

    as an aside – people in their dreamstate is fascinating.. my son is a favorite to watch.. oddly relaxing.. inspiring ..


  82. loved your work, thanks for sharing. it touched me a lot, thought it is your personal feelings :)

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