The 2022 500px Global Photography Awards serves creatives working with photography and provides them a chance to showcase their skill and be rewarded for it. The second edition of the competition consisted of six categories: Technical, Storytelling, Commercial Content, Documentary, Fine Art, and Landscape. Today on the blog we’re talking with the winner of the Storytelling category, Kevin Wood.
Hi Kevin, please introduce yourself.
My Name Is Kevin Wood, and I’m a portrait photographer from Accra-Ghana, the firstborn of Mr. Emmanuel Kwesi Wood and Ms. Regina Martey. I’ve been doing photography for 7-8 years and the style of photography I focus on most is portrait photography.
I started my photography journey in 2016 with a Canon 1200D, which was gifted to me by my uncle, Mr. Lawrence Sam. Later on in my journey, I worked with a Canon 550D, 6D Mark ii, and a 5d Mark ii. My photography was inspired through my digital arts.
The winning image: “Creating Adam and Eve”
What is the story behind the image “Creating Adam and Eve”?
In my photographic storytelling image, you can see a connection, satisfaction, and unity between a man and a woman. This image was taken to express my faith in God (Supreme Being), and highlight nature’s excellence and beauty. I believe that everything has an origin story, and with my camera, I want to tell that through my lens in a unique way.
“Creating Adam And Eve” has always been my favorite storytelling image, because I had great teamwork with a perfectly executed vision.
What was your thought process when choosing what photos you were going to submit to the awards?
My thought process was mainly focused of the following:
The Eyes: The male’s pose depicts satisfaction and peace in the female while the female’s pose depicts the confidence and trust in the man, which bonds them together.
The Sky: Symbolizes the covering and togetherness artistry nature of God, and a reminder that he exists.
As a young photographer from Ghana, does your culture and location impact your photography?
Yes! Ghana is a very lovely and peaceful place to live. The youth here are free-hearted people and very open to any ideas concerning photography and that makes my work as a photographer easy. And, the tradition and culture really inspire me and have a very powerful impact on my photography.
How do you make sure the person in front of the lens feels comfortable?
First off, I’m loved by the circle of people around me, and they really listen to me whenever I bring up an idea to execute. Making them feel comfortable in front of the lens comes out naturally, because of the love and respect we all share.
When looking at your winning images the subjects’ stares, although not directly at the lens, still manage to hold such depth and intensity. How did you direct them, and is there a reason you didn’t want them to look straight into the lens?
The image shows a connection/unity between the male and the female. Directing them came out verbally with instructions concerning the concept with a mutual understanding. I felt that, if they had posed with their eyes directly looking into the lens, they wouldn’t be expressing their emotions to my viewers. I also wanted my viewers to feel the presence of them as if they stood right there to witness them and feel their connection.
Creating the image looks like it was a very collaborative process between you and the models, whom you thanked after winning the Storytelling award. Do you have any tips for other photographers on how to foster relationships with other creatives?
My message to all photographers—every model deserves the highest respect/love because they spend their time with us as subjects to create wonderful images through art. It doesn’t matter if they were paid for the concept or not. Always build a great and loving connection between you and your model, human or not. That’s how you get a perfectly executed image with your vision.
Can you walk us through your editing process for this image?
Photoshop is a very powerful tool for me when it comes to editing and perhaps color grading too, so I choose Adobe Photoshop for all editing processes.
-I cropped the image as I saw fit for a portrait, to capture the audience’s attention.
-I adjusted the highlights, contrast, and exposure to blend into my color grading style.
-I sharpened the image, worked around selective color, and gradient map in photoshop to finalize my storytelling image.
I used a Canon 550D and A Canon Lens Ef 75-300mm.
When you look at this image, what do you hope it communicates to viewers?
The whole concept and delivery is to foster and promote unity among mankind, discouraging racism/discrimination and highlighting that the creator of the universe (God) exists.
God wants us to live in unity. One humanity for us all!
Despite the wars and conflict amongst us, we should be able to overcome the hate and resentment that divides us and live under the roof of love and unity.
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