This is one of those things that's both awesome and awful because it's so damn disturbing but so, so cool. "Daymares" is a photography collection by a New York-based photographer named Arthur Tress. Originally displayed (hung? gallery'd? what's the verb here?) back in 1972, "Daymares" featured staged re-creations of children's nightmares, as described to the photographer by the children themselves. The result is a collection of some of the best horror-movies-as-still-photography that I have ever seen. It's like the real-life version of the Miss Peregrine / Hollow City series, only 8,000 times creepier. From his original Artist Statement:
DAYMARES is a series of photographs that attempts to interpret the dreams and fantasies of young children through the medium of documentary photography. Dreams or nightmares were collected by conversations with children in schools, streets, or neighbourhood playgrounds. The children would be asked means of acting out their visions or to suggest ways of making them into visual actualities. Often the location itself, such as an automobile graveyard or abandoned merry-go-round, would provide the possibility of dreamlike themes and spontaneous improvisation to the photographer and his subjects. In recreating these fantasies there is often a combination of actual dream, mythical archetypes, fairytale, horror movie, comic hook, and imaginative play. These inventions often reflect the child's inner life, his hopes and fears, as well as his symbolic transmutation of the external environment, his home or school, into manageable forms (...)
The purpose of these dream photographs is to show how the child's creative imagination is constantly transforming his existence into magical symbols for unexpressed states of feeling or being. In fact, we are all always interchanging or translating our daily perceptions of reality into the enchanted sphere of the dream world.
Emphasis added, because I love it. And I swear, this is not just my clever scheme to trick you into reading one of my stories or something (although dammit that'd be a great story idea...OOOH fiction brain working now....).
You can check out some of Tress's eerie images below, or you can buy a coffee table book of the entire photography series, in case you're the kind of person who enjoys scaring the living hell out of your house guests. Personally, I just wish that I could read the kids' original descriptions of their dreams...
Then again, maybe I'm better off.