Meet the 500px International Pictures Awards Technical Class Winner

The 2022 500px Global Photography Awards serves creatives working with images and gives them an opportunity to showcase their ability and be rewarded for it. The second version of the competitors consisted of six classes: Technical, Storytelling, Industrial Content material, Documentary, Superb Artwork, and Panorama. Immediately on the weblog we’re speaking with the winner of the Technical class, Mary Bel, as she walks us by means of the BTS of her successful picture and extra.

Hello Mary Bel, please introduce your self.

I’m just about a self-taught photographer from Orlando, Florida. Though I discovered images in faculty, I discovered the fundamentals on 35mm movie, and developed my very own negatives and prints in a darkroom. Now, that approach is extra for fanatics and purists. So, when the world developed to digital images, it took me some time to come back round, however I made the adjustment.

As a single mom of two, I turned to images as a solution to discover solace, peace, and as remedy. At the moment, I used myself as the topic of my work and practiced my approach within the type of self-portraits. I rapidly realized that there was one thing particular in utilizing myself as the topic of my work, so I turned much less afraid to experiment. This led to me giving myself permission to actually apply, attempt new strategies, experiment, and mess up with out concern or embarrassment.

I’ve all the time had an excessive amount of admiration for previous grasp painters. My favourite period is the Baroque, and Caravaggio is my favourite artist. So, my self-portraits have a painterly, illustrative, and conceptual really feel to them. After just a few years of self-portraits, I felt snug sufficient to {photograph} fashions, and apply my painterly aesthetic to them with the lighting I exploit, the modifiers, the fashions I choose and the set design. It’s all intentional and with objective.

Remember Who You Are by Mary Bel on

The successful picture: “Bear in mind Who You Are”

We’d like to know extra about your planning course of. How did you put together the set for “Remember Who You Are”?
I photographed this portrait in the lounge of my residence. Because it was a magnificence shoot, I didn’t want a lot area. I used a paper backdrop by Savage Common, the colour was cocoa. I feathered the sunshine to create some separation between my topic and the background. So, I allowed only a small trace of sunshine to hit the background.


How did you select your mannequin for this shot, and did you consider her look when establishing the studio?
I deliberately picked this mannequin, as a result of I’ve seen different portraits of her that had been the entire reverse of my fashion. I actually thought her options would stand out, if I stored all the opposite parts minimal and in the identical tone. I additionally liked that the mannequin has a slight androgynous look, her quick hair and exquisite cheekbones had been what actually caught my consideration.

This was necessary to me as a result of her look can actually be relatable and match so many different appears to be like—it may be excessive style, couture, but rural and grunge, and nonetheless can look regal. As a Latina photographer, this mannequin jogged my memory of my heritage, moreover African American, Caribbean, and ladies and men from throughout can establish and relate to her in a roundabout way.


What was your lighting setup? There are such attention-grabbing strains, shadows, and highlights inside the picture we’d like to know the way you introduced the to life.
I additionally deliberately gave the portrait a little bit of depth, by creating intentional shadows, so the picture has slight highlights, numerous midtones, and shadows.


Are you able to stroll us by means of your enhancing course of for this picture?
The enhancing for this portrait was very meticulous. I wished the pores and skin to be as clean as doable, with out eradicating an excessive amount of of her pure textures. My favourite approach to perform that is Dodge and Burn. I adjusted the saturation and mixing of the make-up with a really mild colour grading, and luminosity masks to actually make the make-up pop. Since she didn’t have a lot by way of heavy, daring, or graphic make-up, no matter make-up she did have, I wished to be delicate but dynamic.


If you take a look at this picture what do you hope it communicates to viewers?
After I take a look at this picture, I hope to speak that there’s power in these which might be repressed. There may be magnificence in people who have an unconventional look. There may be relatability in those that you would possibly assume is totally different from you. I additionally hope to narrate that, similar to the great thing about this mannequin is eccentric, so are you. We’re all particular and priceless as a result of inside magnificence is present in the whole lot and everybody.


We’d like to know extra about who you’re, as a photographer and as an individual! Inform us a random truth about your self that individuals don’t often anticipate.
I’m the primary in my household to get married, break up, graduate from highschool, the primary to earn a bachelors diploma and a masters diploma, and I’m the primary to personal a house in my household.

I completely love brussels sprouts, honey BBQ chips, and sporting costumes.


How do you propose to maintain creating your photographic apply?
Pictures shouldn’t be solely my pastime, it’s my job, my profession, my ardour, and my technique of therapeutic launch.

It’s so extremely satisfying to work on a private mission (like my self portraits) and categorical myself, and what I’ve discovered, by means of visible means—like photographs. I even have discovered a lot about myself, within the means of studying images.

When I’m bored, I take images of myself, I apply and develop totally different enhancing strategies. I play with lighting, and I completely like to sculpt, mildew, and management mild.

In my spare time, I lead photowalks, educate images by means of, and always have artistic play days the place I can experiment and simply have enjoyable being artistic.

Try the opposite 500px International Pictures Awards winners:
The Panorama Class Winner
The Documentary Class Winner
The Superb Artwork Class Winner

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