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“I spend a lot of my time at my computer with a cup of coffee, working on photos while watching a good show.“

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Cait captures moments and tells stories in a raw and beautiful way. She's a Brooklyn-based photographer and artist and talked to us about how she likes to sleep.

June 2015
Brooklyn, New York (EDT)
Photography: Cait Oppermann
Find out about Cait's photography work here

Interview: VM

“If I had three wishes, one of them would be not having to brush my teeth ever again. I’d wish for dental immunity because brushing my teeth and flossing absolutely bores me to death.“

What are you doing during the day?
I’m a freelance photographer. I spend a lot of my time at my computer with a cup of coffee, working on photos while watching a good show.

What time do you usually get up?
Most days, I get up at 8:30am. 

How does your alarm sound?
My alarm is that awful generic iPhone alarm sound. I’ve been searching for apps with nice sounds but they’re all terribly designed with ads and too ugly to be the first thing I see when I wake up.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
After getting dressed, the first thing I do is make a strong cup of coffee with my Aeropress and delete junk mail on my phone so that I’m only looking at things I need to see when I get to my computer. I answer or write emails and face the to-do list that is mostly emails or reminders I wrote to myself in a panic before falling asleep. It’s a bad dozing off habit where I think of stuff I need to do the next day or don’t want to forget and I pull myself out of near-sleep every night until I’ve run out of everything that’s on my mind.

Do you like having breakfast? And what do you have?
I’m not a breakfast person because a) I hate breakfast food including eggs, sausage, most pancakes, etc. and b) I don’t have an appetite in the morning. The only thing I can usually eat is a bagel or a smoothie, so I try to make a smoothie in the morning if I have all of the ingredients. I’ve started a Friday morning ritual where I go around the corner for coffee and get this Equadorian pastry that comes with passionfruit cream. It’s a little luxury I allow myself each Friday while I read New York Magazine. I’m not very good at downtime, but I’ve found if I schedule it, it gets done. Is that really downtime?

What time of the day are you most productive?
I’m most productive mid-morning and in the evening. I really like working from around 7-10pm as the sun goes down. Something about it being dark outside helps me to hone in on what I’m doing. I’m also most productive when I’m listening to a podcast or watching TV. Other people find the TV thing to be suspect, but with the work I do, it helps me to stay focused and keep from checking my email or nebulous stuff like checking any social media. I stay focused on what I’m doing while watching a TV show because if I’m focused on that, I can be focused in a similar way on the work I’m doing. Right now, I’m watching The West Wing again and finishing off the third season of one of my favorite shows, Forbrydelsen, which is a Danish crime show from a few years ago.

Do you think you get enough sleep?
I definitely get enough sleep. As a teenager I used to stay up working on projects until 6 or 7am and then not sleep too far into the morning, but my body grew out of that. I usually don’t stay up past 1 or 2am now because I get super angry with myself if I wake up late. Feeling like I have to catch up on time as soon as I wake up really throws me off. I’m also a bit paranoid about not sleeping enough, so it’s a huge priority for me.

Where do you sleep best?
I sleep best in my own bed and very few other places. Bed = home.

Do you have any rituals before going to bed?

I don’t have any bedtime rituals, really. If I had three wishes, one of them would be not having to brush my teeth ever again. I’d wish for dental immunity because brushing my teeth and flossing absolutely bores me to death.

Do you remember your dreams?
I rarely remember my dreams but there are some have stuck with me visually over the years. Two of them happened in the same night when I was in high school. The first was one where I was stuck in a desert with white sand that was too hot to stand on. There were these creatures that were trying to get to me, but the only way to escape them was to walk on the white sand and leave the purple path I was on. Everything was distorted from the heat. The second dream was one where I was in a jungle and there were colorful houses on stilts and people with extremely long legs were chasing me. The world was made out of cut paper. Visually, those were some of the most intense dreams I can remember.

Did you ever dream an idea that you brought to real life?
I think dreams provoke me to revisit something I’d forgotten about like a song I used to listen to as a teenager.

Do you care about what you wear for sleeping?
I like to be comfortable when I sleep. The formula is a soft T-shirt and shorts. I never stray.

Describe your bed in 3 words.
Yael’s. Not mine.

What is the most special spot you’ve ever fallen asleep?
A month after graduating from undergrad at Pratt, my girlfriend and I backpacked for two and a half months. We spent a lot of uncomfortable nights sleeping on trains, but I wouldn’t trade those nights for anything. One morning I woke up at dawn with the feet of a stranger in our train car in my face, but out the window was the sunrise over the mountains in northern Italy. I was the only one who was awake, so that moment was all mine.

What do you think happens when we sleep?
We recharge and refuel.

What do you want to dream about tonight?
Traveling somewhere new.

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