When you’re 25 years old and your friends are having babies left, right and center, the changes can be quite overwhelming. Which was exactly what photographer Jana Romanova felt in 2009.

“All the fun and the drinking and the hitchhiking stopped and, for me, it was a really difficult moment because I felt like I was alone,” she said.

To cope with these changes, Jana turned to her love of photography.

Jana Romanova

It all started when she slept over at a pregnant friend’s flat one night. She woke up to find Julia and Mikhail sleeping on the floor. There was a ladder in the flat, as the couple were renovating their home to prepare for their expectant child. So she climbed up and took a photo of them from above.

“That picture said something to me about their relationship; the way they were sleeping made them seem very much like a team while being extremely disconnected at the same time.”

This was how her “Waiting” project started.

Jana Romanova

Jana Romanova

She photographed a few more friends and friends of friends, until she ran out of pregnant couples. She then started contacting expectant people on social media.

“I would say this was the most difficult part. I sent hundreds and hundreds of letters asking: ‘can I photograph you sleeping?’ and for about 99%, the reply was: ‘you’re insane!’”

Jana Romanova

“I was lucky to find really open-minded people who would agree not only to let a stranger into a house, but also to stay asleep while this stranger is climbing the ladder, making noise, holding a camera right over their heads, and — waiting.”

Jana’s goal was to photograph 40 couples to represent the 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Jana Romanova

Jana Romanova

“The whole project took three years to complete. I must have emailed about 300 people in order to convince those 40 couples to be photographed. And I needed to spend the night with them, so that made it even harder to be given access.”

While the project may look like an easy one, it came with a great deal of danger, too.

First of all, the equipment is heavy.

Jana Romanova

Imagine dropping a big camera on someone’s head.

Jana Romanova

Pets are another hazard.

Jana Romanova

“Some pets (not understanding what’s happening up there) become very protective and start fighting with the camera, with the photographer, or with the ladder. I’ve lost several times to fights with cats, dogs, and even one ferret.”

And, of course, some people just plain forget.

Jana Romanova

Jana Romanova

“At one point, the husband, sleeping peacefully nuzzling his pillow just before I started pressing the shutter, opened one eye, then the another one. There was real fear in his eyes. I think at this moment there was something even more terrifying on my face, because I had no idea what to do: to run or to explain.”

Since 2009, Waiting has been exhibited in several countries and has taken part in many festivals. It has also been published in dozens of magazines.

IndieGoGo

For the next step, Jana has collaborated with designer Anton Lepashov to turn Waiting into a book.

IndieGoGo

You can support Jana’s project and pre-order the photobook here.

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SOURCEpulptastic
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