Mary Bel’s Sony Alpha Female+ grant-winning project to create a series of self-portraits is unique in the approach and the intended end result. Many photographers self-describe as at least somewhat introverted. We feel more comfortable behind a camera, quietly capturing moments as they unfold around us. Mary Bel is an artist who turns the camera around and points it at herself. “I am a self-portrait artist,” she explains, “and my goal is to educate others to express themselves in the self portrait genre. I am going beyond the standard selfie by creating well thought out imagery that tells a story, and leaves room for interpretation. I do this by making myself the subject of my work. Just like film develops in the darkness, we do too.”
Over the course of the next several weeks Mary Bel will be working to produce a series of images with two goals. She’ll be creating self-portraits that cast a light on the feelings many of us have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary will exhibit her take with a conceptual and minimalistic representation, and use herself as the main character of the story to communicate this theme. The goal with this project is to show how you can create something spectacular out of little with the use of imagination and creativity.
At the same time, to inspire others to explore self-portraiture as a means of expression and therapeutic release, she’ll be documenting her process. “I have a strong passion for inspiring others to express themselves,” she says. “I want to be able to inspire people to take self-portraits as a means to provide therapeutic release of feelings during these challenging times. As a single mother who works full time, I want to show people that leveraging on art and pursuing a hobby is a great way to release tension that can be achieved no matter your circumstances.”