Alvaro Ybarra Zavala began doing photography as a child, and recalled spending the majority of his time playing with cameras and developing film in the dark room thanks to his grandfather. The only formal training that he actually had took place as the World Press Photo Foundation, where he was chosen to participate at the Joop Swart Masterclass. Since the beginning, one concept of work that has a life long impression on him and has become the backbone of his work is the contradiction shown in the behavior of humans. The idea that humans can become wolves and turn against their fellow man is something that particularly interests him and is a driving motif behind his work. His work is a search which is meant to reflect the darkest side of ourselves as humans, which is regretfully something that’s repeated through generations.
His body of work that he’s produced has been of various tragic events that have happened throughout history. This includes wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Uganda, Colombia, Lebanon, and Darfur. His work ranges from natural disasters such as the terrible earthquakes in Haiti and the tsunamis in Japan, all the way to man killing man, which is present in his work on the Congo. There he would start his journey in the province capital of Goma, where he walked around the mineral rich town to photograph all the atrocities he could find. On his trip he would see bodies scattered around as well as displaced families. He witnessed countless women who were raped and retold their stories, as well as dead bodies from the Congolese army having another showdown with another armed group. Alvara visited the red cross too in order to help them find the courage and strength to recover from such violent and tragic events.