In 1995, Buckland wanted to record close friends who were about to become parents. This gave rise to the Sleep Series. The challenge was how to portray a heavily pregnant woman with her partner in a way that was not overly contrived, especially given the easy sentimental charge of this subject. Buckland’s solution was to replicate their own bed space and in the photographs, record them directly from above. What unfolded was an intriguing discovery and insight into human nature and our relation to beds.
Buckland started by providing a mattress in her own home, photographed from a mezzanine. People brought their own bed items. Later, she photographed her subjects in beds, in situ, using a scaffold system. During this process, Buckland noticed that the relationship between herself as photographer and the ‘sleepers’ dramatically shifted from the ‘usual’ relationship between photographer and subject, where it is commonly believed that the photographer is the one who holds power. Here, she felt closely connected to the subjects rather than separated and photographic process unfolded very simply without the need to organise or ‘direct’ the shoot. These images portray many individuals, including immediate family members, friends and later, strangers. (The numbering of the beds reflects the order in which they were taken between 1995 and 2002).
In 2002 Buckland exhibited Sleep Series at the Park Gallery, KZNSA in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal and at the Castle in Cape Town, as part of the Month of Photography.