(SPOT.ph) How many times have you yawned after witnessing someone—either in person, through a photo, or even in a video—yawn? There's this theory called contagious yawning, and studies show that 50% of adults begin yawning after they're shown videos of this involuntary action of the body. This is the mystery that inspired 23-year-old freelance photographer Francis Rafael Abian, a.k.a. Abes (pronounce as "Eybs"), to put up portraits of yawning people all over Cavite.
Titled "A Portraiture and Wheatpaste study on the said contagious effects of yawning. Inspired from the lyrics of Nas," the project incorporates photography and street art—a multi-media concept that Abian has been playing around with for a while. "I've been documenting a group of street artists (WLRS Crew) based in Cavite for quite some time now. [...] I thought I could contribute to the scene through this project. I intended it for public viewing, something you won't find in galleries or exhibits, but in the streets itself," he explains in an interview with SPOT.ph.
After planning the concept for about a week, he asked for help from friends through social media, and three people were willing to have their photos taken. "I spent two days shooting for the portraits, and another two days for post processing, printing, cutting, cooking of paste, and actually sticking it to the walls. All in all, a week for conceptualizing, and two consecutive weekends for the actual process," he narrates.
You can find the portraits along Aguinaldo Highway in Bacoor, Imus, and Palapala. They bear the lyrics “I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death” from the song “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas. Most of them were already torn down, but for Abian, "the experience was irreplaceable."
The objective is pretty simple: "I just wanted to experiment if the people would yawn too if they would see yawning portraits in public." For Abian, yawning is the body's way of reminding itself to take it easy. "During a long and tiring day at work or in school, we all deserve even just a few seconds of the pleasures of yawning. It's like a reminder that we are doing great and we deserve a break."
When was the last time you yawned? Let these photos remind you to relax.