Earlier in June we launched the “Bodies of Light” Quest where we teamed up with amazingly talented artist Rob Woodcox in honor of PRIDE and the BIPOC community!

Together, we are challenging the community to celebrate their bodies, diversity, and the LGBTQ community with portraits that tell a compelling story about a subject—and one photographer is taking home $1000 US.

We’ve been loving all of the submissions we’ve seen so far (you can see the running shortlist here), the images are truly inspiring! But we wanted to take a minute to formally introduce you (plus show off some of his work) to the guest judge of the Quest, Rob Woodcox.

Hey Rob, tell us about yourself!

Hey! I’m a fine art and fashion artist, currently living in Mexico and learning Spanish. I’ve always had a fascination with travel and surreal stories, I suppose that’s what led me to the images I create currently. I grew up in Detroit and spent periods living in NYC and Portland as well; I’ve seen 49 US states on road trips and have traveled 6 continents. When I’m not focused on my career I spend time in nature, dance, read, socialize and do my part to contribute to current social movements.

Tell us about your involvement in the LGBTQ and BIPOC community.

While I could never know the experience of a BIPOC person or a trans or lesbian person for example, it’s important for me to listen to those individual experiences and do anything in my power to share my platform and work towards inclusivity and true equality as a community effort. Nobody deserves to be alone or excluded in this world, we are all worthy of the air we breathe, so I want to get that message across with my art. As a queer person I have faced my own share of rejection, but why should the next generation of queer or BIPOC people have to face current realities if we have the power to make a change?

How are you using photography to make a difference?

Through my photography, I aim to show every type of body. There will always be more work to do, however I want anyone that views my work to feel like they matter and are included in the conversation. Photographers create the visuals that imprint ideals of society on everyone’s minds; therefore we are responsible for what we choose to create and celebrate. I aim to change the industry on many levels, not just with the work I show, but the people I hire, the brands I demand inclusion from, etc. When Universal or Netflix or Vanity Fair hire me, I get a chance to diversify my team and the talent featured, and I will always make that a priority.

Tell us about “Bodies of Light” and what it means to you.

We are all Bodies of Light. We emanate energy that can take the form of light when we choose to share positive actions and experiences with others. There is power in a smile, or a helping hand, or a listening ear. The more we prioritize the well-being of the people around us, the more we ourselves succeed. When I create my surreal images, I celebrate the life we are fortunate to have on this planet, featuring both human bodies and bodies of nature (bodies of water, land, etc). My hope is that we learn to take better care of all of these bodies, creating a more sustainable environment for all.

Tell us about the Quest, why you wanted to judge, and what you are looking for.

I was excited to do a Quest that celebrates Pride month and ventures away from a technical focus, rather centering on thought, meaning, and concept. PRIDE cannot be celebrated without acknowledging the BIPOC community that fought the hardest to gain LGBTQ rights from the beginning with trailblazers like Marsha P Johnson at Stonewall. While the world is hurting from various current events, I believe art has the power to heal and bring hope, as proven by many before us. I want to see personal stories captured through photographs that celebrate our bodies, diversity, and real experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

To see more of Rob’s work on 500px you can follow him here!

Submit your work to the “Bodies of Light” Quest now and you could win $1000