Bella Kotak is a fine art and fashion photographer based in the UK. With her latest shoots, she whisks us into her feminine fairy-tale world bursting with blossoming flowers, captured with the Phase One XF 100MP Camera System. Prepare to be awed by the glistening beauty and magic she creates of nature and womanhood as Bella speaks with us about her work, inspiration, and the tools she uses to make her images.
The pictures you create are very magical. Where does your inspiration come from and what drives you to create these type of scenes?
“The first shoot, Winter’s Wildflower, tells a story of a queen-like character on a journey. I created the floral cape that she wears by using up of all the leftover flowers that I had been hoarding from the last year (and there were plenty!). I love playing with juxtaposing themes and seeing flowers and foliage in the middle of winter isn’t a normal sight which is why I thought it would make an interesting picture. Through this piece I wanted to say goodbye to 2016 and invite the viewer to join me for more fairy-tale floral adventures in the new year. Of course, this is just my interpretation and it is always interesting to hear what other people see and interpret in my work.
The second set I released titled, Daughter of Spring, is a story captured in a patch of woodland near my home. These woods have a beautiful energy and a magical feeling in them. In this scene, I wanted to capture a queen caught in a slip between worlds. I liked the idea of playing with the delicacy of the soft fragile gypsophila against her powerful presence. A light in the dark woods.”
You’ve been using Phase One’s XF 100MP Camera System on your recent shoots. Can you tell us about your experience using our system to capture your images?
“I decided to capture these with the Phase One camera because after having the opportunity to create art with it over the last couple of years, I can honestly say there’s no comparison to other cameras in my opinion. It is truly in a class of its own.
I shoot a lot with natural light and on some occasions, I’m in a situation where there isn’t much light available, particularly on those heavy grey days. However, even shooting at 3200 ISO I’ve found that the file retains its beauty, noise isn’t a problem, and more importantly allows flexibility with colour toning. I always process my files through Capture One and the first stage of colour process happens here too.
The detail and sharpness of a Phase One image file brings a level of sophistication that truly makes it a pleasure to edit with. I can honestly say that it’s taking my work and attention to detail to another level, and I think that growth is reflected to those who are interested in my work – both clients and collectors. As a photographer, you do feel like you’ve “levelled up” when working with a medium format, high quality camera. And that quality is palpable in the work.“
Can you tell us about the lenses you prefer to use in your work?
“My favourite lenses to use are the 55mm, the 80mm, and the 110mm leaf shutter lenses from the Blue Ring collection from Schneider Kreuznach. I love to use these as their sharpness and clarity is unrivalled. I often switch up between them during a shoot and never fail to get a beautiful shot whether it’s from further away or a close-up portrait.”
What’s next for you?
“This year is going to bring about many photography adventures! I’m hoping to start combining striking landscapes with the fairy tale characters I create, to dive into that world on an epic scale. I also have a new project that I’ve already started preparing for and this will be celebrating my love of diversity, womanhood, and all things floral and blooming.”
You can contact Bella or browse more of her amazing work at her website www.bellakotak.com.