Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feature Interview - 365 days: Bella Kotak

Ok so I kinda lied...I have one more interview for the 365 feature, but I think you'll be greatful cause she's pretty bloody amazing!!

Here is the beautiful Bella Kotak!

traffic in the sky
Day sixytwo

1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography?

Hi, my name is Bella and I’m originally from Kenya, right now, I’m currently living in Oxford, England. I would say that my interest in photography began when I was very young, I was always fascinated by photos and would always play with my Dad’s camera. I began to take photography seriously nearly three years ago now when I came across Flickr. I was at a period of my life when I was feeling very lost and low and begun to crave for a creative outlet.

72|365 ||| new horizons
Day seventytwo

2. What made you decide to start a 365?

When I began my 365 I was unemployed and since I had time I liked the idea of a routine. The feeling of accomplishing something new and different everyday motivated me. Plus it seemed like the perfect way to improve both artistically/ technically quickly.

84|365 ||| freedom

Day eightyfour

3. What is your process when taking your 365 from getting ideas to editing?

Haha oh I’d love to say that my pictures turned out exactly like I’d planned them but that would be an exaggeration. To be honest most of my pictures were nothing like I’d envisaged but in hindsight actually turned out better. Generally, I would have an idea about the location and the mood/ emotion I wanted to portray. I’d also rock up with a ton of props, just incase I decided to toss out original concepts and exchange them for something that was more suited! Editing wise I use photoshop CS5.

85|365 ||| alone

Day eightyfive

4. What are your tools of the trade?

At the moment I use the Canon 450d, Canon 50mm f1.8, Canon 17-85mm lens, a manfrotto tripod and a remote.

124|365 ||| moo friend
Day onehundredandtwentyfour

5. Why do you think people are drawn to starting and following 365’s?

I guess it could possibly come down to the fascination of another person’s art, life and thinking process. I know I follow people that have belief in their work, they have an idea of what they want to present to the world and are unashamed in laying themselves bare for comments and critique. Starting a 365 is also a creative way of documenting your life day by day, for a year. You learn a lot about yourself as a person in that time!

153|365 ||| sleep
Day onehundredandfiftythree

6. What is your least favourite 365 shot you’ve taken so far and why?

There are quite a few, but possibly this one...

on a tilted chair

as I didn’t have much time and wasn’t feeling inspired at all, and it shows.

7. What is your favourite 365 shot you’ve taken so far and why?

This one...

the webs we weave.. it was one of the first few times that I’d begun to include my cat in my little stories.

8. What is your favourite 365 shot taken by another photographer?

There are too many!! One of them is definitely this one by Kalie Garrett...

day three hundred and sixty two.

It feels almost iconic. I could stare at it for hours..

9. What are some of your favourite things :)?

Haha I have lots of little things I like, one of my favourite things is my camera (of course!), my rings (I have too many!), fairy lights, sequins, my books and randomly, my postcards.. I have a collection from all the places I’ve visited in the world.

159|365 ||| a touch of magic
Day onehundredandfiftynine

10. What is your best tip to taking a striking photo?

Lighting! Good lighting can change an ordinary photo into an extraordinary one. It’s the first thing I notice and since I mostly work with natural light it’s core to where and when I take photos.

162|365 ||| unknown
Day onehundredandsixtytwo

11. Your 365 seem to incorporate your surroundings and the elements, is this a big part of your style?

Yes I think so. It’s happened naturally. I find the natural world so inspiring. It’s a perfect backdrop for mini adventures and fantastical things to take place. Plus because of the project I’ve discovered so many beautiful locations around me that I had no idea about!

165|365 ||| romance
Day onehundredandsixtyfive

12. What do you do when you feel like giving it all up?

I guess when it all gets a bit too much or when I’ve lost motivation, I find that it helps when I take a little break. Go into hibernation of sorts. After a while I find I miss it and when I come back to it I feel refreshed and excited again.

177|365 ||| framed
Day onehundredandseventyseven

13. Who’s 365 has been the most inspiring to you?

Ah there are so many! I have to say that I loved Lissy Elle’s when she was doing it and Alex Stoddard’s. Both artists incorporate nature and fantasy beautifully! I also love Kalie Garrett’s work. Her photos are stunning.

The Pursuit Of Happyness
Day onehundredandeighty

14. What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians?

Oh dear I have too many! Favourite films would be V for Vendetta, Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Amelie, too many..

Favourite book only because I’ve read it so often would be South of the sun, west of the border by Haruki Murakami (all his books are beautifully written!) and favourite music would be the different subgenres of dubstep.

autumn leaves
Day twohundredandfive

15. What has been your biggest achievement so far with your photography and 365?

I would say that every opportunity that I’ve had from meeting new people, to booking jobs has been an achievement. From starting as a complete amateur to people trusting me to document the most important day of their lives, well, that’s just insane and so humbling.

bella on a cliff by the sea

16. Do you think it’s hard to be original within the 365 project? How do you keep your ideas original and fresh?

Sometimes. I guess as long as you recognise that as an individual you would have your own perspective on the world and particular ideas and once you begin to create with conviction in your own individuality then as a result no doubt your work will be original!

17. Which 365 shot was the most difficult to capture?

Haha it’s hard to pick! But I’d say this one -

no ordinary morning..

I didn’t have a remote so had to run to and from the camera to press the shutter and check focus. It also didn’t help that my bike doesn’t have a stand so it kept toppling over, sometimes taking me with it. I think at some point I was also standing in a patch of stinging nettles and of course. as usual, I was wearing inappropriate footwear! Needless to say I had very sore feet and was a little exhausted afterwards :)

18. Do you often change a lot of the original photo in Photoshop?
Yes, more often than not the image is manipulated in Photoshop. Exposure, tone and white balance is corrected and colours are played with. Photoshop allows me to translate what I see and feel at that moment into something tangible.


19. Do you think you have an original style that is you own?

No, I don’t think I do. I think as a young artist it’s really important to experiment and to keep shooting. I hope that the more I shoot and produce the more my creative eye will sharpen.

“It takes a long time to grow young...”

20. What is your favourite time of year to take photos?

I love taking photos in spring and autumn! The atmosphere of colour and change is hard to resist.

golden daze..

21. If you could photograph any person alive or dead who would it be and why?

Hm maybe a young Kate Moss or a younger Angelina Jolie, it would be fascinating to meet them too!

summer dreamer..

22. Give us the skinny, what’s the next big project you’ve got coming up?

There’s something in the pipeline which I’m very excited about but won’t talk of it just yet least I jinx it. Otherwise one of my resolutions this year is to shoot more, once a week if I can organise myself!

i can't feel it anymore..

23. Which actor would play you in the film of your life?

Hmm I don’t know.. Even though we look nothing alike, maybe Audrey Tautou? (haha another girl crush!)


24. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be everything! But I think it was up to the age of 17 that I wanted to be an astronaut.

 the storm gathers..

Thank you so much Bella, see more of her amazing work on her stream here

Peace xx


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