INTERVIEW WITH BELLA KOTAK

MARCH 2021

Bella Kotak is a fine art, fashion and portrait photographer. In her works the beauty and fantasy of worlds inspired by fairy tales are inhabited by strong and charismatic women and reveals to the observer the beauty and poetry of the environments, depriving them from the banality in which everyday life has placed them.

 

All images © courtesy of Bella Kotak

 

Website: https://www.bellakotak.com

 

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Model: Scarlett

Wearing: Agnieszka Osipa 

In your biography you said that you knew you would work in the creative field when you were very young; and that the encounter with the photography was enlightening. How did it go? How did this meeting happen? 

 

I’ve always been drawn to the arts. It started off as drawing, then painting, and one day while in my architecture course, I came across Flickr and discovered a group of young people creating creative pictures using photography and photoshop. This really inspired me and I started to take photos for the purpose of learning Photoshop better and started sharing that journey online. The more I took photos the more I started to fall in love with the art of it and how I could use this medium to share my passion for stories and fairytales, and that’s how it all began! 

 

 

Did you experiment with other forms of art before moving on to photography? 

Yes I did and I feel that everything that I learnt along the way fed my photography and how I create how. Everything you learn has an interesting way of coming together to contribute to where you are in life in the present.

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Model: Bella

Photography Assistance: Pratik Naik

Wearing: Lory Sun Artistry

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Models: Jeremy & Maria

Photography Assistance: Pratik Naik & Scarlett

Maria wearing: Agnieszka Osipa 

The color and the imaginative and fairytale atmosphere is always part of your shots but  what inspires you when you work? How do you choose your subjects? 

Living in the countryside I work mostly just with local models and it’s really great because I am a very last minute planner. I love to sometimes decide on the day and just being able to call my models when I see a great location for an impromptu shoot is all part of the fun! My subjects are mainly friends that I’ve made via photography and I love working with them because I love their characters and the energy they bring.

 

 

Also in one video you talked about this aspect, about the spontaneity behind some projects and the long  studies and plans that accompany others. How do you tecnically proceed with your shots? 

 

It honestly varies, some photoshoots happen very fast and others do take some planning. It really depends on the vision for the shoot. If I’m working with a bigger team (hair/ mua/ stylist, etc) then the planning takes a while and a date is set but when it’s just myself and the model I love to create quickly on the fly.

 

 

 

 

In some images I have seen that you do the make-up and style of the whole project yourself,  in others you rely on collaborators. How does your approach change in both cases? 

 

When I’m working with others the vision for that photoshoot is shared. Everyone brings their own talents and magic and that’s a really beautiful thing. I love the collaboration between artists and people who are passionate about their art. When I create with just myself and the model I love to see how far I can go on my own. I don’t have all the skills as others but I love to create and it’s interesting to me to see what I can achieve on my own. 

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Model: Scarlett

Model: Jodi Lakin

Dress: Joanne Fleming Design

Your protagonists are mostly women who often show strength and decision. Can you tell us about this choice? What do you want to convey to the viewer? 

 

As a woman myself I can honestly say that there have been many times when I’ve felt the constrains of my gender in this patriarchal world and societal culture. It can be very frustrating. My girls in my photos I discovered recently while looking back at my work are a reflection of me of where I was in that point in time. My earlier work is very simple, barely any styling and as I got more confident in myself as an artist and young women the girls became stronger and warrioresque. Through them and my captions I share my stories, I invite others into my world, and create a space where other women can feel connected to their own power too. We need more women’s voices in this world. This is how I share mine. 

 

In an ideal exhibition of your works, how would you organize the spaces, the environment  and everything that revolves around it? Would you like it to be done outside, a bit like  shooting the environments you photograph? 

 

Oh what a great question! I would LOVE an inside/ outside space. I’ve always been drawn to “the spaces in-between”. Like sunset, sunrise, twilight, anything inbetween.. I love the spectrum that exists in that fleeting moment. So yes, I would love to blend the worlds somehow in my ideal exhibition. 

 

 

Which are your future plans?

 

At the moment I’m focusing on creating as much as I can. I barely created in 2020 and now with spring here in the UK have found myself just craving to create! 

Long term plan is to one day be able to buy or build my own home and create the most fantastical, wonderful, flower blooming garden! 

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Models: Anna & Mathilde 

Hair & Makeup Artist: Maria Leonhard Bødker

Wearing: Fairytas

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Model: Bella

Photography Assistance: Pratik Naik

Wearing: Lory Sun Artistry