Based out of Northport NY, Nicolas Bruno is an incredible photographer and artist who suffers from a rare condition called sleep paralysis. While in his dream state, he is completely paralyzed and has vivid hallucinations. From these hallucinations, he creates astounding photos that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I discovered him one day as I was scrolling through Facebook and stumbled upon a documentary/interview video made by Creators. I find myself drawn to his work because of its intense strangeness, curious beauty, and magnificent use of individuality along with the fact that I was so intrigued by his experiences, photos, and process.
Ever since he was a boy, Nicolas Bruno has had terrible dreams that were truly terrifying. Upon awakening, he found himself unable to move along with a pressure on his chest. As he got older the dreams intensified. Due to the fear they caused, he would not sleep in an effort to avoid them. However, doing that just escalated the dreams themselves. Struggling to find an answer, or even a problem, he tore through the internet searching for what he’s seen in his dreams. On his search, he came across the painting The Nightmare, which then lead him to the Wikipedia article of sleep paralysis. After understanding his conditions he told his parents and teacher at school who told him to start sketching, leading Nicolas to his current art.
A majority of Nicolas’s pictures involve several characters. What I find most interesting is that he is all of those characters. This is the brilliant process that I mentioned before. In one photo, there are four men; three on the main level, and one on a stage. You would think that he had four other people stand in a specific spot at he clicked the camera, when in reality he is all those four men. What he does is place his camera on his tripod and change the shutter speed allowing him to move positions. It’s quite genius actually. This way, he wouldn’t need to find specific models, pay them, or go through the hassle of scheduling with them.
I admire how interesting and full of meaning Nicolas’s art is. He uses his condition, which causes immense fear, to his advantage and controls it using art instead of succumbing to it. I feel that all art is like a Horcrux, where a piece of our soul is bound to this object that we created. However, it is much more difficult to show others how much of our soul is put into our work. I admire the ease and clarity to see Nicolas’s soul put into his photos.