Siesta in Yucatán Hammock Shop: Part of A Sleepy Photo Collection

A slice of 1980s life in Yucatan appears on a sleep-themed book

 “Mexico, 1984” from the series Sleeper. Photo: Paul Trevor

Not everyone knows they are posing for British photographer Paul Trevor (b. 1947).

Case in point: When Trevor visited the Yucatan Peninsula in the 1980s, he booked a room at a hotel where guests had to bring their own hammocks.

“You went into the bedroom, and there were just two hooks,” he recalls. “So you needed to provide your own. Otherwise, you slept on the floor.”

He headed out to buy one but found the owner of the local shop asleep on the job.

Careful not to disturb the slumbering shopkeeper, Trevor quietly photographed the scene and left. He returned to buy a hammock later.

This photo joined a growing collection he had been assembling since he started photography a decade earlier. In an ongoing project, brought together in his book “Sleeper,” he photographs people — and sometimes animals — napping.

“It’s something I’m drawn to: there’s something very serene, very peaceful about it,” he says.

Who doesn’t sleep?

“These pictures observe nappers worldwide — we can all relate to it. It’s such a universal thing,” he says. “We’re dealing with people of different age groups, races, classes. It’s an interesting way of creating a visual narrative that deals with these things in an implicit way.”

And, he adds, naps are healthy: “I’m on my way to Barcelona at the moment, and in Spain, people have a siesta, and they live longer than all the other people in Europe.”

The man in the shop never saw the picture of himself having a snooze.

“I think if he saw it, he would have a bit of a chuckle,” Trevor says. “He’d probably complain that it was supposed to be his siesta, and they forced him into the shop, so he decided to have it anyway.”

Since picking up the camera at the age of 25, Trevor has published his photographs widely in books, magazines, films and television.

Abandoning his job as an accountant, he applied to picture-making the rapid hand-eye coordination he acquired as a teenage table tennis ace, according to his biography. Trevor first exhibited internationally in 1978.

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