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Unveiling the Dark Romanticism Scenes of @iamthegatekeeper

To see more of Lucille’s dualistic photography, follow @iamthegatekeeper on Instagram.

“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.”

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Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPstrangelight

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

The assignment this weekend is to create images that use light — the most basic tool of photography — in an unconventional way. The goal is to capture moments that might often be overlooked, because they fall outside the classical lighting condition known as “golden hour.” Some tips to get you started:

  • While we’re often taught that a subject should face the light, experiment with backlit situations, or with light that illuminates the subject from an angle we don’t often see.
  • Explore times of the day or night that you might have avoided because they seemed too bright or too dark. While dawn and dusk are popular for the warm, soft, side lighting that they yield, try photographing in the harsh, overhead light at high noon — or venture into the darkness, to see where light emerges.
  • Instead of relying solely on daylight-balanced natural light, experiment with the color shifts that occur with artificial lighting from sources like computer devices and fluorescent bulbs, or with light refracted by atmospheric conditions like dust or moisture.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPstrangelight hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own images to the project. Any tagged image taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured Monday morning.