BOOK REVIEW - MISS ANIELA - CREATIVE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Creative Portrait Photography is the stunning sequel to the enlightening first book "Self-Portrait Photography" by Natalie Dybisz, A.K.A. Miss Aniela. This equally well penned text serves as both a primer and a comprehensive insight into the artistic realms of portrait photography.
All to often the focus of many a photographer and indeed people in general, is solely upon the mechanics of photography. So long as the exposure is deemed accurate and the model has a smile on their face, all is well. Because of the impressive technology inside a modern digital camera, it is easy to think of it as being the most important element in the creative process, since it's responsible for the capture of an image.
Yes, it's true. Without a camera, there would be no pictures but, there is more to it than that. A camera merely takes a photograph but you make a photograph.
It's ironic that people do not attribute the beauty of Michelangelo's David to the chisel he used, or accredit the paintbrush for the works of Da Vinci, Raphael or Rembrandt. Yet when people see a good photograph they automatically ask "what camera did you use? I bet it was a good one!" However, when we view that camera as simply a tool, you cease to hide behind it as a source of limitation or an excuse for the mundanity of your own work. "My camera's not very good, ergo neither will my pictures be."
Miss Aniela's Creative Portrait Photography does just the opposite. Although she acknowledges the camera as an essential component, the emphasis is upon the photographer as an artist and the creative process, making clear and thought provoking observations. It describes in detail how she approaches a shoot, the motivation and inspiration behind it and the combining elements.
There are a number of small case studies found within the the central chapters. Here Natalie takes several of her finished pieces, breaks them down and the story behind is given. This lends the reader a greater understanding to the final work. Like the first book, you're also introduced to other photographers and digital artists from around the world, who go beyond the standard portrait, creating off-the-wall images with dynamic results.
The final chapters of the book are dedicated to the business side of photography and building your portfolio and your style. Again, it's a very concise and honest approach based upon her own experiences and will prove to be an invaluable source of information for any aspiring photographer or artist working in different medias alike.
The pages throughout this book are littered, or should I more correctly say adorned with some of the most beautifully composed portraits you will see. These images will evoke a myriad of reactions both from their varied content as well as a mild degree of envy. "Why the hell don't my photographs look like this?" The answer to that question lies within the pages of the book itself, all you need do is read and absorb its message. If you subsequently still turn your gaze towards your camera bag and curse your equipment, then her words have fallen upon deaf ears. For those that do take heed, they will understand that overwhelmingly the only limits to photography are the ones they place upon it. Mainly self doubt, lack of forethough, inspiration and creativity.
In summation, this book is quite fantastic and will be regarded by many who are intrigued enough to buy it, as the bible on creative portraiture and fine art photography. In years to come I am under no doubt Miss Aniela will come to be known as the Salvador Dali of her time by those who recognize the creative boundaries she broke and the surreal images conjured at her hand. There is little wonder that Natalie has achieved so much in so little space of time, coming from humble beginnings on social media to doing commissioned work around the world and being sponsored by the likes of Nikon, no less! So if you're struggling to put the pieces of the jigsaw together or find the right ingredients to a successful portrait, do yourself a favour and purchase a copy, either in hardback or now in digital format.