The work of Álvaro Ybarra Zavala (Spain, 1979) could be defined as a dual narrative that confronts itself but at the same time merges under the prism of the same gaze. The bipolarity of his photography fuses a documentary narrative with an introspective and very personal narrative of the author. All his work is marked by a strong dialogue in which obsessively predominates the search and understanding of the idiosyncrasy of human behavior and its complex nature. An obsessive search that responds to the vital experience of a complex childhood that further enriches his work with a strong existentialist charge.
His photography poses a visual narrative full of questions that invite the viewer to turn Ybarra Zavala’s photographs into their own experiences. A visual dialogue that is present in both his documentary photography and his more introspective photography.
Although at first glance the work of Alvaro Ybarra Zavala could lead to the mistake of being seen as two distinct blocs, the photography of this artist cannot be understood one without the other. Internationally recognized and considered for his documentary photography as one of the best photographers of his generation, having been recognized with the most prestigious industry awards, it is in his lesser known work, his introspective photography, where his gaze as a photographer reaches a complexity and richness that makes it unique.
His “Silencio” project represents his most introspective photography linked to his documentary work. An intimate visual narrative in which the artist raises his doubts, feelings and fears about the events he immortalized in his photographs portraying our recent history.
As documentary photographer, filmmaker and storyteller who has worked in over 40 countries on key assignments for TIME magazine, New York Times, Le Monde, Libération, Newsweek, Sunday Times Magazine, CNN, Vanity Fair, ABC. XLSEMANAL and many others. Born in Spain in 1979, he took up a career in photography while at university, joining Agence Vu in 2005 and the Reportage by Getty Images roster in 2009.
He has published five books – Macondo, memories of the Colombian Conflict ( 2017), Apocalypse (2010) Children of sorrow (2006) – and exhibited his work internationally, winning numerous awards including the Over Seas Press Club, the Alexia Foundation Jury Special Prize, the World Press Photo JSMC, the Getty Grant for editorial photography and a Photo of the Year among many others. He is currently one of the photographers who internationally represent the image of the prestigious Leica camera brand, having been one of the key photographers in the campaign of the Leica Sl2 model.
Over the last twenty years, he has created bodies of work photographing topics like the legacy of War, the human impact on the environment and in the wildlife, the marginalized souls of our civilization, food production, the social movement and identity in Latin American, taboo and beauty in love, and the recent history of human migration.
Alvaro has also worked for NGO´S and Foundations as UNHCR, ICRC, PRONIÑO and he shoots commercial assignments for BBVA, Movistar, Endesa, Canon and CNN. He has extensive experience in the film industry having collaborated on films like “The Mountain Between Us” and work with CNN, Fox entertainment group and TFC Vancouver Productions LTD.
Alvaro Ybarra Zavala is a frequent professor of photography at universities. He directs an audiovisual production company and an editorial house specializing in author’s books. At present alvaro has its base between Madrid, Bogota, and London.