Art as Medium: Sleep Paralysis

April 16, 2017

We recently featured a reader submission on his Sleep Paralysis experiences, our first ever foray into the topic, and as a result began researching it more extensively. Sleep Paralysis is a strange occurence where the individual becomes frozen - suffering from an inability to move, speak, or react while falling asleep or waking up. Sleep Paralysis is sometimes accompanied by frightening hallucinations and the feeling of energy running through the body. Though there appears to be no immediate negative outcome, the experiences usually last several minutes which feel like an eternity, and leave the person traumatized. This paralysis normally occurs once we enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, our bodies way of preventing self harm (and maybe harm to others) by acting out in our sleep. Think of it as a subconscious evolutionary protection mechanism. But for some reason, sufferers awaken during this cycle.


It's a terrifying condition which many suffer from, often without sharing. Photographer Nicolas Bruno is one of them, but he also has an amazing photographic eye and uses his talent to relay the eerie dreams he has to others in his art work. Only 22 years old, it is uncanny that he has such an ability to capture the often horrific hallucinations in print. The idea of using his photography as an outlet was a suggestion of one of his high school teachers, and he has been using the medium to document and combat his fears ever since.


Bruno suffered from sleep paralysis for 7 years, and the deluge of his dreams eventually drove him to insomnia and depression. He says “I thought I was possessed by demons”. Finally at a point where he can manage the dreams, thanks to his art, he states “this project has gifted me a sense of who I am” ... “It gave me the strength to persevere in life, to create art and speak to people. It gifted me art, and I don’t know where I would be without it.” See some Nicolas Bruno's art below:



Here is video of his gallery Exhibition



Here is an interview with the photographer:



Visit the Artists Website here: nicolasbrunophotography



Comment below and tell us: Have you had a sleep paralysis experience?



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September 21, 2018

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