PhotographerJulian Zavala
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountrySeattle, United States
Photo DateMay 2015
About Photographer

My name is Julian Zavala and I use the experience of creating a conceptual photograph to help me cope with my emotions ranging from depression and isolation to happiness & curiosity. It's also an incredible way I've discovered to unleash my imagination and bring to life the thoughts lingering in my mind. The whole process feels like an amazing epic adventure. The more isolated I feel and the further away from people and civilization I get brings me even more spiritual bliss. I always long for that sensation that I’m treading the Earth in medieval times anticipating that I’ll discover a hidden jewel or hidden magical door way to another dimension somewhere in the remote wilderness. The experiences I face are one of the main things in life that make me happy. I’m usually alone exploring the world in the vast majority of my photo shoots and outside of them in my “down time” it’s usually no different. It's mostly a personal choice. I guess you can say I'm a bit of a loner. I've grown fond of it. My photographs all originate from this place I call the Paerosphere. It’s a metaphoric medium in which my humanity is expressed, mostly my depression. The name Paerosphere is a mash up between the words parallel and sphere, sphere referring to a biosphere or a world. I've named my photography Hypnago Giacoro Photography because part of the name has a deep meaning to it. Hypnagogia has often been referred to as the bridge to other worlds or the hallucinogenic experiences and visions you see and feel in the state between consciousness and sleep. My photography is the bridge to this world I've created that encapsulates nearly every aspect of who I am. What I feel, desire, think, fear, imagine, literally all things that make me human and make me feel alive. The majority of the characters of the Paerosphere you see in my photographs are living inanimate objects and beings that sometimes resemble humans and have human parts as part of their anatomy. I’m about one of the only humans existing in this world, in these photographs. A lot of my photographs are self portraits that have a deep emotional feeling attached to them. As mentioned earlier about the meaning of Hypnagogia, my photography is not only of photos taken in the Paerosphere, they’re also of dreams and thoughts I have that are illustrated on a photographic canvas directly and metaphorically. Many of the characters in this world have masks for heads. I feel that by making this a part of their appearance they transcend mortality and become something timeless, something legendary. One of the things I wish for in this world is to become recognized for my work. As an immigrant to this country I haven’t been showered with many opportunities in life and it hasn’t been easy by any means. I always have to work twice as hard as my peers and have witnessed my parents spend their entire lives working almost two week’s hours in one, in the scorching heat and frigid cold doing manual labor just to provide for their family. Their love is a constant inspiration and motivator for me to be successful. To put it bluntly, I don’t want my existence to be their cause of an early death. My pursuit at higher education and gaining wide exposure with my photography is to aid me in giving my parents their long over due rest and to make me feel this thing called happiness. I also want to share my photography with others and hopefully inspire people through the photos themselves or the fact that I use this passion of mine as my own personal medication for my depression and feelings of solitude and hopefully it will convey the message that there are ways of coping with it and turning it into a positive and productive thing that doesn't involve taking on irrational actions.