About Mary Bender
Mary Bender's photos capture more than just light. Each of her photos tells a story.
"Their laundry was hanging up, and chickens were running around." Bender became fascinated with clotheslines in Cuba, where washing machines are few and far between. "I loved taking laundry pictures," she said. She graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in art history and earned her teaching credential from San Francisco State University, going on to be an art educator for around 25 years. Most of her work has been with nonprofits, such as the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View and Photo Philanthropy.
Despite her years of experience in the world of photography, Bender said she is still trying to improve.
"I've taken lots of bad (photos)," she said. "It's easy to snap, snap, snap ... but it's very hard to craft it, to capture, to be watchful, to be patient. ... It's a constant challenge."
-- Lauren-Marie Sliter
There were many strong images in this category, making it difficult to single out a few for recognition. Everyone who submitted work is to be congratulated. Often, it is an unexpected detail that makes an image exceptional. In the case of Mary Bender's image "Lavenderia," the three small birds are a delightful surprise. They provide a humorous contrast to the man busy with the laundry.
-- David Hibbard