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10+ Photographs That Will Inspire Your Nightmares

For some, the world we enter in our dreams can be a wonderful experience. Limited only by our imaginations, the dreamscape is filled with images that can elevate us to the heights of pleasure or take us down to the depths of terror.

For one such individual, Nicholas Bruno, unfortunately, it is the latter that rings true more often than not. Since the age of 15, Nicholas has suffered from sleep paralysis, a disease in which sufferers experience nightmares more vividly than the average dreamer. Think of it as dealing with Freddy Kruger on steroids. Here are some of the photos of his nightmares that will, in all likelihood, give you a few of your own.

Dark Meaning Photos To Inspire Nightmare Dreams

Trapped in an open space

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Trapped in an open space

This image, Which was featured in Illusion Magazine, captures the feeling of claustrophobia, even in with nothing surrounding you. The mind is a vast place that can serve as an inescapable prison.

A world he can see but cannot play in

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

A world he can see but cannot play in

The artist uses symbolism in his photography to illustrate his dreams. Using his own study, he defines in his frightening photography.

A small man in a large terrifying world

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

A small man in a large terrifying world

When the photographer is ready to begin, he employs a bag of tricks that involves posing for many shots, tripods, and photoshop to achieve these frightening photos.

Willam Tell's aim

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Willam Tell’s aim

He also uses props like gas masks, bows and arrows, bowler’s hats, rusty bath tubs, and even an antique diver’s helmet to bring fear into his frightening photographs.

Clinging to the light

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Clinging to the light

The artist says of this frightening photograph:

“By translating my dream experiences into my artwork, it has lifted my spirits from a darker place than I used to reside in.”

The ghostly hands of the unknown

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

The ghostly hands of the unknown

In addition to studying the meaning of dreams, Bruno studies his own frightening photographs for inspiration to improve his work.

Ghostly man in the distance

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Ghostly man in the distance

Bruno uses an ethereal man in order to express tangibility in this frightening photograph.

Reflection of terror

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Reflection of terror

Bruno uses his frightening photographs in order to tell the world about sleep paralysis and hopefully inspire sufferers to create their own works of art using the medium of their choice as a form of therapy.

Help is only a phone call away

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Help is only a phone call away

“My sleep paralysis episodes contain repetitious characters and feelings, such as faceless figures wandering about my room or feeling a dark gravity exerting pressure that crushes my chest.”

Bruno says of this frightening photograph.

Dark version of Mary Poppins

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Dark version of Mary Poppins

“Each day that passes, I am able to gain more control over what happens within my episodes and begin to understand what unfolds within them.”

This frightening photograph calls back to a childhood staple with a dark twist.

The Depths of disparity

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

The Depths of disparity

“These sinister figures torment me at the foot of my bed with taunts of static and screaming.”

Not even an antique diving suit can offer salvation in this frightening photograph.

Eerie landscape

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Eerie landscape

“No matter how hard I fight back, I buckle into a long lasting near death or fight-or-flight stimulation from being trapped in my own bed and body.”

This frightening photograph portrays the vast emptiness that Bruno routinely finds himself in when he closes his eyes.

The smoking man

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

The smoking man

Bruno likens sleep paralysis to purgatory which is presented in this frightening photograph.

Beautiful disaster

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Beautiful disaster

The individuals fear of loss and desperation to survive even flows into the subconscious in this frightening photograph.

Fiery resting place

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Fiery resting place

Even in Bruno’s dreams, the safety of a bed is called into question in this frightening photo.

Target practice

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Target practice

A hooded figure is often present in Bruno’s frightening photographs. It is unclear if they represent a danger or an eerie version of himself.

Safety or danger

Source: Nicholas Bruno Photography

Safety or danger?

This frightening photograph may present safety from the dangerous surroundings or another trap for Bruno to escape from.

Devastating silence

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Devastating silence

“It has been an absolutely amazing experience to interact with my viewers and relate to their sleep paralysis occurrences.”

Bruno says of his experiences with these frightening photos.

Spicy meal

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Spicy meal

“I have been receiving numerous messages from individuals who have experienced sleep paralysis.”

This frightening photograph showcases that Bruno is, in fact, not alone in his struggle.

Fellow victims or potential demons

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Fellow victims or potential demons?

“Whether they knew what it was or not, (they) were able to relate to my work and share their stories with me.”

Salvation or damnation

Source: Nicholas Bruno Photography

Salvation or damnation?

Bruno has found the beauty spawned from his pain with these frightening photographs.

“It gifted me art, and I don’t know where I would be without it.”

Adrift

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Adrift

“I became fascinated with the endless possibilities of conceptual photography and photo manipulation and developed my skills accordingly.”

Bruno often models in his frightening photographs.

Light dinner

Source: Nicholas Bruno Photography

Light dinner

Bruno keeps a journal of all the notes he takes from his sleep paralysis fueled nightmares. Sometimes, he transcribes them onto his frightening photographs.

Head on fire

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Head on fire

“I’ve always been into photography, and it became my way of battering through my terrorizing sleep paralysis experiences and expressing my creative conscience in ways that I never thought I could,”

This frightening photograph illustrates some of the dangerous thoughts Bruno has caged in his mind during sleep.

Terrifying sounds

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Terrifying sounds

One of Bruno’s high school teachers advised him to document his dreams. He chose to use frightening photos.

It also rains on the dead

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

It also rains on the dead

“It gave me the strength to persevere in life, to create art and speak to people.”

This frightening photograph shows there is no difference between the living and dead in the dreamscape.

A head for pictures

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

A head for pictures

The mind is a swamp or debris in this frightening photograph.

Spiritual doorway

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Spiritual doorway

Bruno gets a sense of individuality in these frightening photos

Eerie horizon

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Eerie horizon

The dank landscape is ever present in this Frightening photograph.

Two ships in the night

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Two ships in the night

“I thought I was possessed by demons.”

This frightening photograph shows the prisoner Esque feeling Bruno experiences.

On the run

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

On the run

There is no escape from one’s own mind.

Exorcising his demons

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Exorcising his demons

A side effect of sleep paralysis for Bruno was depression, insomnia, and of course these frightening photographs.

No place to rest

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

No place to rest

Even in times of rest, This frightening photograph shows that Bruno is never at ease.

Basement of fear

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Basement of fear

Sleep paralysis occurs during the REM state of sleep. Perhaps that is the reasoning for the circular composition in this frightening photograph.

No salvation at the top

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

No salvation at the top

Bruno has dealt with this problem since he was 15. The frightening photos came later.

Hangman's noose

Source Nicolas Bruno Photography

Hangman’s noose

Hopefully, This frightening photograph doesn’t illustrate other ways Bruno attempted to deal with his plight.

Final Thoughts
Nicholas Bruno is a truly tortured soul. Dealing with sleep paralysis since the age of 15 would be hard for any individual. Fortunately for him, he has found a way to express the dark experiences he deals with on a nightly basis. incorporating Photoshop and other techniques into his work. Bruno is able to capture the frightening and fantastical elements of his dreams.

Sleep paralysis of course during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) portion of sleep. This is a time when our brains tend to shut off so that we can actually rest. However, for Bruno, his brain is more alert so he remembers more vividly what he dreams about. This is how he is able to bring much of his nightmares into the real world and take away its power by giving it a form.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?