Béle — Let’s pause right here to avoid any confusion. It’s pronounced ‘Bailey’. She made this crystal clear the day she posted a picture of her cheeky business cards on Instagram and invited people to admit whether or not they’d been saying her name wrong, using the hashtag #businesscardgamestrong — Benard’s photography could evoke a multitude of reactions. When browsing the selection of her work, which she has posted to Instagram, it is hard not to feel as though she has captured the calm within a moment of chaos. Her use of contrast, smooth. Her framing, precise. Her eye seems to appreciate the beauty of small moments captured in the breadth of bigger pictures.

Believe it or not, Benard purchased her first camera less than two years ago. The summer of 2014 was monumental for her; it’s when that life-changing fire first sparked, leading her on a quest to find herself. She boldly up-and-left the Sunflower State of Kansas and moved 700+ miles away to Chicago, where she now attends the city’s notorious Art Institute. Working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she is hyper-focused in new media and technology but is also skilled and interested in illustration, studying social media patterns AND creative coding. (WOW.)

To Benard, photography is fiercely therapeutic and a solid way to check in with herself. It also allows her to collaborate with fellow artists, which is an incredible way to source inspiration. Her color palette and sparkling use of bokeh mildly resemble another favorite photographer of ours, @Brightong. Benard, however, lends a special twist to the specific categories of urban and conceptual portraiture.

Sometimes Benard even pops into her own photos, appearing to dangle her Doc Martens from a skyscraper or keeping them glued firmly to the ground. In others, she stays carefree, her long brown hair dancing crazily in the wind. But one thing is certain: her undeniably strong power to make time stand still with the captivating, comfortable click of her lens.