Contributor Conversations: Barbara Bezina on turning self-expression into commercial art

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With a penchant for mixing different artistic mediums, Barbara Bezina’s self-portraits invite you to experience both the intimate and the surreal. 

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Her aesthetic is evocative of Francesca Woodman or Sally Mann’s early works, dissolved in hazy colors. Her collections are intensely personal, wildly experimental, and immensely refreshing within the world of stock photography.

Let’s take a peek into this Argentinian artist’s creative process to learn how she turns personal expression into her fuel for success in stock photography.

Blending artforms

After starting her artistic journey with painting in her childhood, Barbara discovered photography over a decade ago, and has since been incorporating the two into her art. “I’ve painted and drawn [since] I was little,” she shares, “Digital art emerged from that mixture, which is why I’m more recognized.”

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She often captures her photographs in black and white and overlays them with different colors and patterns. Other times, she uses selective coloring to highlight the main visual elements in her images, while the rest remains desaturated.

She refrains, however, from sticking to one single formula for her photographs, which is why her art is continually evolving. She blends different styles in such a way that her work sometimes makes you question whether you're looking at a photograph or a painting. “All the techniques that I practice mix and feed each other, and they mutate all the time. I think that may be the reason for the aesthetics of my work.” she says.

Making magic

As an artist, Barbara admits that she doesn’t create her photos specifically for stock photography. “I’m interested in making works of art,” she says, “I don’t think about what others do.” This unapologetic approach to her craft has garnered her over 300,000 followers on Facebook alone, and is the same reason that her work stands out in the realm of stock photography.

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Barbara also shares that she doesn’t plan her photo shoots. ”I always let myself be guided by intuition,” she says, "I just take my cameras out and shoot." 

Adopting pictorialism, most of Barbara’s photos depict her (or her sister) as characters in a nebulous dream; always slightly hazy but lucid at the same time. Having a close affinity with nature, she loves taking photos under water, as well as using flowers and plants as props. “I like doing things out of the ordinary, from a deep place,” she says, “I like what is different and genuine. Art is magic, and that’s what I want: to make magic.”

Discovering new methods

Despite the lo-fi quality of her images (almost reminiscent of 19th-century hand painted photographs), Barbara mostly creates her art using a digital camera. “I wish there was a camera that could take the pictures I want.” she shares.

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To compensate for the artistic limitations of her equipment, she uses Photoshop and Lightroom to achieve the results she desires. Because of her expert editing skills, the post-processing always make you feel the age and texture of her images.

Perpetually driven by curiosity, this year, she has even begun exploring new artistic possibilities through analog photography. “I have some old cameras which I experiment with, and I’ve learned the process of developing.” she says.

Continually pushing herself to try new forms of self-expression, she expects to create even more unique art through this medium in the future. “Surely, I will start sending analog photography to Canva at any time,” she promises.

Sharing a creative vision

Surprisingly, Barbara has only been in the stock photography business for a few months. That may not seem like enough time, but being an artist whose work has been exhibited around the world, she definitely has a few lessons to share from her experiences.

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Barbara stresses the importance of experimentation in creating photos. ”Don’t stay comfortable, and most importantly, don’t copy what others do,” she advises. “There are too many copies of copies, and that doesn’t help contribute at all.”  

Ultimately, Barbara wants to impart that success lies in following your passion, no matter what it may be. “Being yourself and creating from your own unique vision is the best you can do for yourself—for art and for the world,” she says. “Technique comes with practice. It’s an inevitable consequence of doing what you love.”

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Self-expression is probably the last thing you might expect to be associated with stock photography. However, these days, you can easily set yourself apart by taking this alternative route. People now prefer original and creative images over anything cookie-cutter. This is why it's the perfect time to get started in this venture. Because now, you have the opportunity to be rewarded for doing what you love and simply being yourself.