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Posts Tagged ‘photography

Photographer Grows Her Brand from Flickr Beginnings

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The photography of Natalie Dybisz a.k.a. Miss Aniela

By Diane Berkenfeld

The ubiquity of the internet has allowed artists far and wide to reach a much larger audience than they would have been able to by traditional means. This is true of Natalie Dybisz a.k.a. Miss Aniela, (www.missaniela.com) a photographer and artist who has turned her self-portraiture, initially created and posted on Flickr for her own enjoyment, into a brand, complete with a new liveBooks powered website, two self-published books, exhibitions and more to come.

Natalie Dybisz a.k.a. Miss Aniela's website homepage. All images © Natalie Dybisz.

“Aniela is my middle name. I wanted a kind of alter-ego to serve as a name to use on Flickr,” Natalie says. Once she started exhibiting her work, she says it felt right to stick with that name as her artist’s moniker.

Natalie explains that she was fond of snapping photos as a teen, when she first began to shoot self-portraits. Her interest in photography blossomed when she went to university. It was at this time that she discovered online photo sharing as well as the joys of digital processing.

Early on she used Sony compact cameras and lacked a tripod. Natalie then graduated to a Sony R1, which features a swivel screen that makes capturing self-portraits convenient, and a tripod. She used the R1 for about two years. In September 2008 Natalie transitioned to her first DSLR, a Canon EOS 40D. She recently upgraded yet again to a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a larger, sturdier tripod and flashes.

Natalie Dybisz a.k.a. Miss Aniela's website. All images © Natalie Dybisz.

Natalie’s first website was created in 2007, as a place on the web where she could display a gallery of her photos and write about herself. She transitioned to a liveBooks site this year. “I liked the look of their sleek, fast Flash sites. It looked ideal for displaying photography, and I also liked that I was able to talk about my ideas and have the designers create a custom site based on my vision for my brand,” she says. Adding, “I also like being able to edit my site whenever I want, to edit text, and to add or remove pictures, which is easy enough in the editSuite that comes with the site.” The liveBooks site is the portfolio or gallery, for Natalie’s more refined work, as well as a place to disseminate information about her books, prints and her contact information. “The website is a showcase, a place that is generally consistent. My blog, (www.missanielablog.com) however, is a place with constantly updating information, a place to share essays or thoughts, or to promote my events,” she says. “The way I choose to use Flickr is rather like a studio, where I share lots of images, to see which gauge the most reaction or comment, or just for me to see images build and then to determine which ‘do it for me’ in the long term, and I may then add them to my galleries on my main website. I use Facebook and Twitter to link through to blog posts or to Flickr posts,” she adds.

Miss Aniela and Rossina Bossio. Photographs © Natalie Dybisz and Rossina Bossio.

Miss Aniela. Photograph © Natalie Dybisz.

Miss Aniela. Photographs © Natalie Dybisz.

In addition to a number of exhibitions and speaking engagements, Natalie has produced two books which are available on Blurb (click here): Self-Gazing, a collection of self portraits taken over the course of three years; and Multiplicity, with images taken over the course of more than four years that showcases her evolution of multiplicity photographs. As savvy a businesswoman, as she is a photographer, Natalie also offers fine-art prints of her work and commercial licensing opportunities.

Natalie has also collaborated with other artists. The books She Took Her Own Picture, Selections from the Female Self Portrait Artists’ Support Group available on Blurb (click here), features the work of 44 female self-portrait artists on Flickr including images from Miss Aniela; and In Her Own Image, Selections from the Female Self Portrait Artists’ Support Group also available on Blurb (click here).

(l. to r.) Natalie's two self-published books: "Miss Aniela: Self-Gazing" and "Miss Aniela: Multiplicity" and two books she's collaborated on, as part of the Female Self Portrait Artists' Support Group: "She Took Her Own Picture" and "In Her Own Image"

Q: What inspires you?

A: I have an assortment of inspirations. I don’t look at as many photography books and exhibitions as I should, and I spend too much time online looking at photo-sharing sites. I am inspired by anything from childhood thoughts to dreams, to raging depressive thoughts, from the joy, yet futility of life, to the chilling mystery of death.

I like the work of several people I have seen online, like Rossina Bossio and Rosie Hardy. I also admire the work of Gregory Crewdson, Julia Fullerton-Batten, and Ellen Kooi.

Miss Aniela. Photograph © Natalie Dybisz.

Miss Aniela. Photograph © Natalie Dybisz.

Q: How did you know you were onto something with the Miss Aniela brand?

A: It wasn’t easy for me at first to see Miss Aniela as a brand, probably because my work is so personal, so it was like the images were not just my work, they were me. The stage, therefore, of separating myself from my brand whilst also being able to accept that my brand is very personal, was a challenging step. So, whilst I saw from 2007-2008 that my work was becoming popular and I wanted to go further with it and do it for a living, it still took me a while to see that my artwork can be considered as a brand and a business, something I can sell without feeling as if I were selling myself. As such—I could objectify the self-portraiture as one aspect of what I do, and not the sum total of my being.

Q: What did you think when you realized the large number of people that were viewing your images on Flickr?

A: I was surprised and pleased but always aware that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Just because a load of people have clicked on your work doesn’t necessarily validate one’s images. It just meant I had the attention of an audience for an unforeseen length of time, and yet, the audience wasn’t all mine to play with, it was an audience through Flickr. I try to use that audience the best I can in encouraging them to visit my site, join my mailing list, join me on Facebook and Twitter, etc. Even then, the number of people following you and your updates doesn’t often feel like it means anything till someone actually offers me an exhibition or buys a print.

Q: How have you been able to grow your photography into a brand?

A: It has been fairly easy to self-publish books and to make these available to people online, and also to show and sell them at presentations and events. Exhibitions are an aspect that is harder to achieve, as they require collaboration with galleries or other venues. Most of my exhibitions have been offered to me, so the whole scene of approaching galleries is something new to me. I try to keep my brand consistent across books, gallery shows, and my website, in terms of graphic identity, but with the exhibitions, it is harder because the gallery will present the exhibition on their own terms.

Q: What direction do you think you’re going to take your work into next?

A: I would just like to carry on doing what I do, producing images I am artistically engaged with, and pursuing exhibitions and print sales. I would like to have a large-scale exhibition that is accessible to both the art scene and the general public. Another angle to my photography goals is to broaden my experience and my learning of the technical side to the art so I can teach workshops in the UK and beyond. I would like to become a published author (outside of my self-published books) and write books on photography and art, something that I will hopefully begin this year.

The 'About Me' page on the Miss Aniela website. Photograph © Natalie Dybisz.

All you have to do is take one look at Natalie’s work to see that she’s got a great eye for photographic composition and design, and we expect to see much more of Natalie Dybisz a.k.a. Miss Aniela in coming years. Go to the website www.missaniela.com to see more of her work, or check her out on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.

Want more information about liveBooks? Click here.


Impressions of PhotoPlus Expo 2009

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Having just recouped from three days of attending the PDN PhotoPlus Expo (www.photoplusexpo.com), held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC, I thought I’dlogo_main share my impressions of the show. PhotoPlus is designed for professionals in the photographic and imaging industries, and showcases the latest in photography. October 22-24, 2009 marked the 26th consecutive year of the show.  This year there were a number of companies that chose not to exhibit, including Fujifilm, Pentax, The MAC Group, Calumet, and Adobe. However I didn’t feel that made a big difference in attendance. There were also a number of new companies to the industry showing product for the first time.

Although no registration figures have been released yet—I felt the show was well attended. You see, for someone who has attended dozens of tradeshows over the last 10 years, I judge the attendance on the tradeshow floor by how easily one can navigate through the aisles. If you’ve got to weave among other attendees and stop often to wait for others to let you through, then its pretty crowded. If you can easily and quickly walk the show, then its not that crowded. Well, I’m pleased to say that even though we’re in the middle of a recession, PhotoPlus Expo 2009 was well attended—all three days. Normally the show which is held Thursday through Saturday is more well attended on the weekdays than on the Saturday, however this year there were just as many folks walking the tradeshow floor on Saturday as there were earlier.

In addition to the hundreds of exhibiting companies, over 100 special events, seminars and hands-on workshops were held over the three days of the show. Topics ran the gamut from portrait/wedding, commercial/editorial, lighting, marketing and business, Photoshop and color management, and more.

Stay tuned to the Picture Soup blog for more from PhotoPlus Expo 2009.

[By the way, if you want to put next year’s dates in your calendar now, PhotoPlus Expo 2010 will be held Thursday, October 28 – Saturday, October 30, 2010.]

— Diane Berkenfeld

Product Review: Auto FX Software’s Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7

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By Diane Berkenfeld

I’m going to begin the review of Auto FX Software’s Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 at the beginning—with installation. Photo/Graphic Edges will take about 30 minutes to install, not the five to 10 minutes that the installer says. And it may not look like it is doing anything right away, but be patient because it will install correctly. The software is Mac and Windows-based PC compatible and will work as a plug-in with Photoshop versions 7 through CS4 or as a stand-alone program. on a computer running at least MAC OS X (on an Intel or PPC Mac) or on a Windows-based PC, running Windows 2000, XP or Vista.

This version of Photo/Graphic Edges includes 32 new edge, border and frame effects. With all of the edges, frames, borders and overlays, adornments and embellishments you have thousands of options. For the pro photographer who wants to be able to add edges to a wide variety of images from baby and child photography to teens, seniors, couples and families, Photo/Graphic Edges provides edges, borders and frames appropriate for all. The software also features powerful tools to alter the edges, frames and borders. Many of them can be tweaked in a number of ways, from changing the hue, opacity, and other characteristics.

One of the additions to this version is the ability to add multiple layers to create unique images. You can save these new borders, edges and frames as presets so you can use them again. Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 includes 300 pre-made layouts and instant effects, as well as the ability to add your own presets. Other new features include new storyboards and the ability to brush on edges. Auto FX Software has also improved the program with the addition of a new rendering engine and interface updates. An example of this is larger content previews. The content collections have also been reorganized so it’s easier to find what you want. And a favorites feature has also been added.

Using Photo/Graphic Edges

The software is simple to use, as a Photoshop plug-in or a stand-alone product, you launch the software, open an image and choose an edge, frame or border. You can add embellishments, adornments and overlays. If you don’t like the edges you’ve chosen, simply delete that layer and choose another. The edges and frames load pretty quickly too, so you won’t find yourself waiting.

When you are done with one image, and want to move on to another, you just open the new image and that automatically closes the first. It would be nice in a future version to have a ‘close image’ choice in the File menu, if only because everyone associates the word with the act of closing a working file.

When working with Edges, regardless of the one you choose, they reshape to fit the dimensions of the photo. When you are working with Frames, the Transform tool allows you to scale and position the photo as you want. There are actually two transform tools, transform frame/edges and transform photo so you can tweak the frame or edges and the photo exactly how you want. Auto FX notes that the Transform tools are dynamic and non-destructive.

Images can be saved as Bitmap, JPG, TIFF, and PSD files, however the software saves the PSD files flattened but with full transparency, so you can’t make any changes among the layers when opened in Photoshop. You need to do all photo editing and manipulation in Photoshop before you import the photo into Photo/Graphic Edges. One other thing you need to be aware of is that when you’re working with an image and Quit out of the stand-alone program, it will quit without asking if you want to save what you’re working with, so just don’t be too quick with your keyboard shortcuts. When you’re working with the plug-in, and Quit, it cancels the plug-in and returns you back to the host program, for example Photoshop.

I love the photo realistic darkroom edges like the filed out film holders, Polaroid film and Polaroid transfers. One of the cool things about the software is that you can add backgrounds for a full layout. Backgrounds include colors, gradients, textures, and more. Many of the frames and edges are for a single image, but there are also two-up and quad frames that can each hold a different photo. You can add text to images as well. There are frames that are designed to look like actual frames, as well as scrapbook style frames, embellishments and layouts. There are also geometric, digital, traditional, artistic, and more modern edges and frames as well as vignettes.

For software that incorporates so much content—a thousands items—you’ll have plenty to browse from, to find that exact frame or edge for your images. Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 offers photographers such a wide range of options, that practically anything is possible. So much so, in fact, that you should definitely take a look at the manual before you begin, it comes as a PDF file. You might also want to view the free video tutorials on the Auto FX Software website.

For more information, go to the website at www.autofx.com.

Product Review: Jill-e Chocolate Brown Suede Medium Camera Bag

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By Diane Berkenfeld

Jill-e Chocolate Suede medium bag with leather accents.

Jill-e Chocolate Brown Suede medium bag with leather accents. Note the double row stitching on the pocket flaps and handle straps.

Take a look in my gear closet and you’ll find almost a dozen different camera cases. I’ve got cases on wheels, backpacks, hip-packs, a messenger bag and a few standard-style bags in different sizes. Except for a small grey camera bag and deep blue tripod bag, all the other cases and bags I own are black. Pretty much all of them are made of the usual Denier nylon exterior material. Do they look like camera bags and cases? Of course.

The latest camera bag to join my collection however looks nothing at all like the others. It’s a medium sized camera bag from Jill-e. (Dimensions: (l.) 14 x (w.) 8 x (h.) 9.5 inches) The exterior is chocolate brown suede with brown leather accents to give it style and flair, and has the look and feel of a quality product. The bag has plenty of outside pockets with snap closures and a large back pocket that you can easily slip paperwork or maps into.

The bag, like other Jill-e models, has dual handles and a removable shoulder strap. One of the really useful accessories is a little pouch that can be tethered to the interior of the camera bag. I’ve found it to be great to house personal items like cash, keys and ID. Like most camera bags and cases, the Jill-e bag has moveable Velcro partitions, which allow for a variety of configurations based on your equipment needs. The interior is light brown with polka-dots, making it easy to see loose items when you’re in a hurry. Most of the time I carry a camera, three lenses, flash, media card case and a few other accessories. The medium Jill-e bag easily held all of that equipment with plenty of room for more. The main compartment has a wide zipper closure that is easily opened or closed with one hand.

Jill-e chocolate suede medium camera bag. Note the accessory pouch tethered inside the bag at the top left, moveable partitions, and accessory netting on the inside of the top flap.

Jill-e chocolate suede medium camera bag. Note the accessory pouch tethered inside the bag at the top left, moveable partitions, and accessory netting on the inside of the top flap.

Jill-e burst onto the photography scene in June of 2007 with the line of stylish camera bags that has changed the camera case landscape for the better. I really like the line of Jill-e camera bags. Just because you want to look stylish doesn’t mean you’re any less of a professional photographer. If we weren’t meant to have a choice of color, style and design then all luggage would look alike. With my Jill-e bag, I don’t have to sacrifice style just because I’m carrying around camera gear.

Jill-e added its Jack line of stylish bags and cases for guys in October 2008. They include medium, messenger and rolling cases in brown distressed leather.

The Jill-e line includes a range of bags, in different sizes from pouches and small to medium bags, as well as two sizes of rolling bags in a variety of great colors including pink, red, bone, pale yellow, and combo designs, to suit the needs of any fashionista photographer. Many of the bags are leather with leather accents, a few are suede with leather accents.

MSRP of the chocolate suede medium bag is $239.99. Check the website at www.jill-e.com for more information.

Inspiration Hits in Threes; Book Launch & Talk Tonight

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book cover image courtesy of Amazon.com

book cover image courtesy of Amazon.com

Languishing in layoffs, feeling hostile in the humidity, down on your luck or just over it,  – sometimes life can seem routine, like a laundry list of chores, commitments and disappointments. We are used to processing thoughts and images a mile a minute. But pay attention. From the most common moments, the dawn breaks, the sky opens and inspiration hits. This was particularly the case for photographer Ed Kashi who was lying in bed one day when the idea for his new book Three came to him. In some ways it would be his life’s work.

That morning he dreamt of images from his vast archives flowing around in threes, like a comic strip on steroids. Particularly, he saw photos from Brazil in his mind’s eye:              the leathery skin on the back of an old fisherman, calm waves of the ocean and the curve of the man’s body as he plummeted into the salty liquid bliss. Here’s how Kashi explains his vision:

They moved as a group, transformed by their relationship to each other.

Each grouping of images in the book are presented like a triptych, an artform dating back to the Middle Ages which is divided into three sections. Traditionally, carved panels were hinged together and folded. The middle panel was typically the largest and flanked by two smaller related works, although there are triptychs of equal-sized panels. 

The trifecta idea became the impetus for Kashi to comb through more than 20 years of work looking for, as he puts it:

Visual connections, visual language and visual poetry of three.


Ed Kashi



No over stimulation here. In his book, images are presented with no context, no captions. Some come from the same story or location, but many only resemble each another visually. Each triptych’s order is deliberate and meaningful for some sensual purpose. This is not just a picture book but a feeling book. Kashi’s images are sometimes bittersweet and examine current issues of social and political significance, as well as the simpler things in life, bringing together the joy, sorrow, destruction, and reconstruction of a world in flux.

Still, you leave being inspired in some way.

Be sure to check out an amazing multimedia slide show produced to accompany the book launch here: http://edkashi.com/three.php

Join Kashi for the Book Launch and World-Premiere Screening of the Multimedia Piece THREE.

WHAT: Film begins 7:30 PM / Book Signing 8:30 PM
Followed by Panel Discussion and Q & A with Ed Kashi, Daryl Lang (
Photo District News), and Sean Corcoran (Museum of The City of New York)

Thursday, July 16, 2009, 7 PM – 9 PM

WHERE: powerHouse Arena
37 Main Street
Dumbo / Brooklyn

RSVP @ powerHouseArena.com. For more on Kashi visit his website at http://www.edkashi.com/.    –Alysha Sideman

Written by PictureSoup

July 16, 2009 at 11:06 am