Fine art, fashion, and portraiture photography (often combined as one cohesive subject) is photographer Bella Kotak’s expertise. Photography for many is an incredible form of escapism allowing the photographer to explore their own unique and creative perspective on the world and present it through the images they capture. This is exactly how I would describe the brilliant work by Bella Kotak, it’s just like looking into a parallel universe where each photo tells an individual and often whimsical story.
Loving art from a young age, Bella always knew she wanted to work in the creative industry when she grew up. Initially she had ended up on a more traditional career path working as an architect, but this lead to her feeling rather unfulfilled and unhappy. Ironically, her job as an architect meant she had to learn how to use Photoshop which is what sparked her first interest in photography. You know what they say, every cloud has a silver lining!
Living and working between the US and the UK, Bella often relies on her natural surroundings for her photoshoots. Whether that’s a local forest, or the ivy growing on her neighbour’s garden fence! She brings together a variety of tools to create her artwork. Props, clothing, models, location, lighting – she describes the process as if these elements are her “pallet of paints” from which she crafts her images; pressing the trigger on the camera is just one final part of that creative process for her.
Speaking of theoretical paint, the two below photographs by Bella are both inspired by traditional paintings that she found influential along her art journey.
The ‘Golden Flower’ (left) was inspired by the paintings of Chinese goddesses by artist Zeng Hao. ‘The Kiss’ (right) inspired by the oil painting also titled “The Kiss” by artist Gustav Klimt. These images born from inspiration taken from another art medium are wonderful reminders that art exists in so many different and unique forms. Be it photography, painting, sculpture, dance etc. Inspiration is all around, not just within the art medium that you choose!
Something special about Bella Kotak’s photography is her ability to play with the viewer’s own sense of imagination by curating these individual worlds and stories within each individual photograph. Different people can look at her work and see their own version of the story told within it.
The above photograph is titled ‘Eden’. Looking at the final product it is an enchanting image, the flowers, composition, lighting, model – all these elements brought together to create a darkly beautiful world. There’s only a suggestion at the story behind the character laying in shot, clutching a handful of bluebells. It all looks so magical, like a fantasy daydream.
Now take a look behind the scenes, and you’ll see that the location of this shoot is one of the most ordinary places. A small patch of grass, ivy and wildflowers nestled alongside a regular, mundane road. It’s the kind of location you wouldn’t give a second glance to when passing by, yet she can use this to create an art piece that captures the eyes of thousands of people. This is what I particularly love about Bella Kotak’s photography, she works with what she has and makes the ordinary into something extraordinary.
“Art can be created anywhere, all you need is a little inspiration, the motivation, and a dash of some magic”Bella Kotak
Bella Kotak shoots with Phase One, ‘The Kiss’ and ‘Golden Flower’ being captured on the Phase One XF Camera Body with the 100mp IQ3 Digital Back. Why Phase One? Because Phase One offers exactly what photographers like Bella need, precision, quality, and reliability!
“I always find the image files from the Phase One to have a certain quality to them that you can only achieve with a medium format camera. There’s a sharpness and texture that I feel takes an image to another level.” – Bella Kotak
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