If you are a fan of dreamy, whimsical images, you’re probably familiar with Bella Kotak‘s work. She creates her own fantasy scenes and stories that take you into magical worlds when you look at them. Thanks to SmugMug Films, we can take a peek behind Bella’s dreamlike worlds and find out more about how she creates them and what stands behind her inspiration and ideas.
Bella has been interested in photography since she was a kid, and she admits that she tried all sorts of it before she found her style. “I tried photographing families, portraits, pets, weddings, and a bunch of other things, she tells SmugMug. “Unless you try it, you won’t know if you like it or not”. Eventually, she found her true photographic passion in storytelling and escapism.
Most of Bella’s photos contain flowers and plants, fairy-like dresses, jewelry and props. And what I find fascinating is that she makes a lot of her props herself completely from scratch. For example, she made the butterfly headpiece you can see in the image below out of newspaper.
One may think that Bella’s photos require tons of preparation and planning. Indeed, some of them do, but she still loves to keep it spontaneous as often as she can. She always has a lot of props, clothes, flowers and jewelry to hand. So, from time to time, she takes some of it and gets in a car with her model. They drive around looking for inspiring spots, and when they find one, they make some photos there. Like this one:
Bella admits that she has her favorite models to work with, and that she often photographs girls. Since I had the pleasure of meeting Bella in person, I can say that her style in photography totally matches her calming energy and character. The photos she makes are usually very tender and feminine – but don’t think she isn’t equally good at photographing guys! Although she doesn’t do it that often, the photos she creates with male models are equally dreamy and beautiful.
Even though she’s great at photography, it wasn’t Bella’s primary career: she used to be an architect. I believe there is some kind of a strong connection between architects and photography. I personally know many architects who have completely switched to photography, or they do it as a hobby and completely rock at it. I guess Bella is one of those people, too.
When you look at Bella’s photos, they take you to different worlds; they allow you to daydream and escape reality. This is exactly what she wants to achieve. Photography has always been an escape for Bella and she wants to let the viewers escape from reality with her images, too.
Take a look at more of Bella’s photos below. If you’d like to make creative portraits yourself, you can read her ten tips to get you started. Make sure to check out Bella’s work on her website and follow her on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, subscribe to SmugMug’s YouTube channel for more inspirational videos.