Photography is not just a medium for documenting realities. It can also be used to stage surreal images. Photographer Arthur Tress took the latter approach in the late 60’s and early 70’s when he created a photo series titled “Daymares”. The project started out as simply photographing local children playing in parks along Manhattan’s waterfront area. Then, Tress was invited to a children’s educational workshop where the students were making paintings based on their dreams. This inspired him to talk to children about their nightmares and recreate the scenarios in photographs. The results offer a haunting glimpse into the imagination of a child.
Tress has stated that “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.”
More photos from “Daymares”, as well as work from throughout his career, can be seen at his website.
- “Children In Another World: The Photographs of Arthur Tress” from The Getty Iris
- “Artist Transforms Children’s Nightmares In Photos That Will Haunt Your Dreams” from The Huffington Post
- “The Amazing Arthur Tress Shares His Dark Surreal Photographs From The 1970’s” from Gothamist
By Grace Hetfield