German photographer Bernd Hagemann has long been fascinated by China and its people, particularly the way they slept at every street corner and in the strangest positions and situations. Some even snore in deep slumber. Bernd began photographing and putting them on his website Sleeping Chinese. Since 2002, he was snapped over 700 photographs of Chinese sleeping in seemingly impossible positions: under trucks, on shopping carts, scooters and butcher slabs, vividly illustrating the millions of weary masses who help power the nation.
Bernd puts all sleepers into one of the three categories – hard sleepers, soft sleepers and group sleepers. Hard sleepers are able to fall asleep anywhere on any surface, soft sleepers need something a little more comfortable, and group sleepers sleep with people around them, be it friends, family or complete strangers.
Napoleon once warned. "Let China sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world”. But Bernd says that he started his site to show the outside world the less threatening side of China’s rise. “They talk about ‘The Sleeping Giant.’ About ‘The Birth of the New Super Power’ or ‘The Awakening of the Red Dragon.’ Often with a strange kind of undertone, which is supposed to frighten us. The reality definitely looks more peaceful,” he wrote.