I highly recommend watching the documentary from BBC on photographer Nicolas Bruno, an artist who battles with sleep paralysis and transforms his nightmares into reality. The pieces shown on his Facebook Page and Instagram are absolutely captivating and I think for those of us who have endured sleep paralysis and questioned the mystery around it, you’ll experience an involuntary empathy. When I look at his work, the fear rumbles in my gut. It’s satisfying to see this because, once again, a brave artist reached out about an odd phenomena that many of us link to the supernatural. Now many more of us feel less alone. He’s even willing to contact others who have been through similar experiences.
I wrote an article on sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, and astral projection as part of my metaphysical research for my upcoming dark science fantasy novel. In the article, I discuss how science and medical studies say one thing about sleep paralysis, but I encourage that we’re not too quick to dismiss the supernatural experience that can mingle with sleep paralysis. After all, lucid dreaming and astral projection have overlapped as well, so what could be happening while your lucid dreaming is still going when you’re awake? In the documentary, Nicolas discusses how his upbringing influenced his view on the supernatural and his sleep paralysis.
One of my favorite elements of Nicolas’s photography is the use of water, which he mentions in the BBC documentary. From a PHLearn interview, he discusses his use of water as psychological symbolism:
“Water, to me, is the unconscious mind or the realm of sleep. Being above the water represents the conscious mind or wakefulness. A lot of my characters are halfway submerged, trapped between the worlds of being asleep or awake. Ominous figures and props protrude from the sleep realm, and the wakeful protagonists within the images generally are tormented or trying to escape. I enjoy depicting the play between the conscious/subconscious mind. The water can also symbolize the suffocating feeling within sleep paralysis, where it almost feels that you are drowning in your own bed.”From “Transforming Nightmares Into Hauntingly Beautiful Works of Art with Nicolas Bruno” by Jennifer Berube, 2018
Please find Nicolas on his social media accounts and support his work. We need this type of art.