“In my real life, I like to live in ‘spring,’ but through my art, I live in ‘winter,’” explains Lucille Lares-Kiwan (@iamthegatekeeper), referring to her ongoing photo project that she started after experiencing several personal tragedies. “I created Gatekeeper as sort of a personal outlet for me to channel the melancholy I felt,” says the Oakland, California-based technical designer. Despite the fact that Lucille’s alternate realities may seem dark, they have a cathartic effect, making Lucille feel lighter and lifted. “This ‘safe space’ I create in the dark atmosphere of my photos allows me to release those negative emotions. By letting go of the melancholy and sadness through my work, I’m able to move on,” Lucille says, hoping to set a positive example. “If my story can help anyone feel hopeful about their path, that would mean the world to me.” Photo by @iamthegatekeeper

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