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Nicolas Bruno ’15 Photographs His Nightmares

The photography alum talks about his experiences and his art on BBC Reel.

Nicolas Bruno ’15 (photography) experiences sleep paralysis—a strange phenomenon in which a person regains consciousness while still in REM-sleep, when dreaming occurs, but is unable to move or speak. The condition is often accompanied by visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations.

“It’s essentially dreaming while you’re awake and you can’t do anything about it. It’s kind of like lucid dreaming, but a lot more terrifying,” he explains. He recalls experiencing shadowy hands grabbing his neck and figures looming at his bedside.

As a way to cope with the recurring condition, he decided to record his nightmares after they happened. In order to capture them quickly before they left his memory, he chose sketching over writing.

The BBC recently documented his work.

Photograph by Nicolas Bruno ’15 (Person climbing a ladder out of a body of water)