Children Nightmares Turned In To Photos: Never Sleep Again

Children Nightmares In Photos Are Terrifying

Children nightmares don’t always make a lot of sense. Sometimes they’re downright ignorant, yet other times, they can leave one feeling a cold chill on the back of the neck.

Artist Arthur Tress thought this subject would be good fodder for an exhibit, and so 40 years ago, he asked some kids to describe their nightmares to him in detail.

Taking those lengthy descriptions, he pieced together a series of children nightmares in photographs that he called “Daymares.” Now, some of these, as the readers at Huffington Post noted, are mildly creepy while others are somewhat horrific.

But as William S. Burroughs once said, “For years I wondered why dreams are so often dull when related, and this morning I find the answer, which is very simple — like most answers, you have always known it: No context… like a stuffed animal set on the floor of a bank.”

Try to imagine these as your eight-year-old self, or better yet, if there is a nightmare that’s always troubled you, try to do the same thing Tress did. Write it out and stage a photograph.

We’re thinking the process could either be cathartic or frightening.

HuffPo described the origins of this project in a bit more detail:

Tress embarked on the series after photographing children playing along Manhattan’s waterfront, as part of an environmental photography series. He was then recruited to do a workshop with child educator Richard Lewis. “Every year he has a different theme,” Tress explained to Gothamist, “and one year he did children’s dreams, to get kids to write poems and paintings from their dreams. So he called me in to photograph his class. So I said, you know, that’s a terrific idea, and I’m going to pursue that by asking children and my friends what dreams they remembered from childhood.”

“I was looking for mythological, archetypical, kind of nightmarish images,” Tress continued. “That kind of became my trademark for the next 20 years, that kind of surreal disturbing photography.”

Take a look at these for yourself:

Reader reaction at HuffPo ranged from impressed to disappointed.

Christian Aragon: “Most of these are mildly creepy at best. As an artist and photographer myself, as well as a life-long enthusiast of the macabre, I can’t say that most of these are really ‘nightmarish.'”

Nelda Brady: “Great photos! They may seem just merely odd to us, but I can see how a child that was experiencing these images in his/her mind would be frightened and very confused. I still have a horrific image of a Poopatrooper (Google it) trying to kill me with a huge bubble wand. I kid you not. It was terrifying!!”

What do you guys think of these photographed children nightmares — scary or meh? Share your comments below.

[Image via Huffington Post, linked above]