Meet the 500px World Pictures Awards Technical Class Winner

The 2022 500px Global Photography Awards serves creatives working with pictures and offers them an opportunity to showcase their talent and be rewarded for it. The second version of the competitors consisted of six classes: Technical, Storytelling, Business Content material, Documentary, Positive Artwork, and Panorama. At the moment on the weblog we’re speaking with the winner of the Technical class, Mary Bel, as she walks us via the BTS of her profitable picture and extra.

Hello Mary Bel, please introduce your self.

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

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

I’ve all the time had a substantial amount of admiration for outdated grasp painters.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 a number of years of self-portraits, I felt snug sufficient to {photograph} fashions, and apply my painterly aesthetic to them with the lighting I take advantage of, the modifiers, the fashions I choose and the set design. It’s all intentional and with goal.

Remember Who You Are by Mary Bel on

The profitable 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 house. 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 think about her look when organising the studio?
I deliberately picked this mannequin, as a result of I’ve seen different portraits of her that have been the whole reverse of my type. I actually thought her options would stand out, if I stored all the opposite parts minimal and in the identical tone. I additionally cherished that the mannequin has a slight androgynous look, her quick hair and exquisite cheekbones have been what actually caught my consideration.

This was essential to me as a result of her look can actually be relatable and match so many alternative appears—it may be excessive trend, 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 men and women from throughout can establish and relate to her not directly.


What was your lighting setup? There are such fascinating strains, shadows, and highlights throughout the picture we’d like to understand how 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, plenty of midtones, and shadows.


Are you able to stroll us via your enhancing course of for this picture?
The enhancing for this portrait was very meticulous. I needed the pores and skin to be as easy as potential, with out eradicating an excessive amount of of her pure textures. My favourite method to perform that is Dodge and Burn. I adjusted the saturation and mixing of the make-up with a really gentle shade grading, and luminosity masks to essentially 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 needed 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 energy in these which might be repressed. There’s magnificence in people who have an unconventional look. There’s relatability in those that you would possibly suppose is totally different from you. I additionally hope to narrate that, similar to the fantastic thing about this mannequin is eccentric, so are you. We’re all particular and helpful as a result of interior magnificence is present in all the pieces 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 folks 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 observe?
Pictures is just not solely my passion, it’s my job, my profession, my ardour, and my technique of therapeutic launch.

It’s so extremely satisfying to work on a private challenge (like my self portraits) and specific myself, and what I’ve realized, via visible means—like pictures. I even have realized a lot about myself, within the strategy of studying pictures.

When I’m bored, I take pictures of myself, I observe and develop totally different enhancing strategies. I play with lighting, and I completely like to sculpt, mould, and management gentle.

In my spare time, I lead photowalks, train pictures via, and always have inventive play days the place I can experiment and simply have enjoyable being inventive.

Try the opposite 500px World Pictures Awards winners:
The Panorama Class Winner
The Documentary Class Winner
The Positive Artwork Class Winner

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