Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Self-Portrait Photography by Natalie Dybisz aka Miss Aniela" - A Book Review AND a GIVEAWAY

I recently wrote a post over at
Independent Fashion Bloggers about taking self-portraits. It was in no way meant to be an all-encompassing treatise on how to take better photos of yourself but just some quick and easy tips for people who want to experiment by turning the camera on themselves.

But, if you are looking for an all-encompassing treatise, or at least a really fantastic guide on taking your own pictures and making art, then you need look no further than Self-Portrait Photography The Ultimate in Personal Expression by Natalie Dybisz aka
Miss Aniela

I've featured this tremendously talented artist here before and I was so excited when her publisher sent me an advance copy of her new book that comes out today. Lucia was napping when the doorbell rang with the delivery and the timing was perfect - I sat on my couch and started studying.

Miss Aniela Self-Portrait Cover

I've been following Natalie's work on Flickr since I joined almost four years ago and I've been learning from her and admiring her work ever since. Not only is she a fiercely creative photographer but she is a wonderful writer, as well - especially when it comes to describing her work and her inspiration. Natalie is an artist and a bold and brave storyteller who engages the viewer of her images. Her use of digital technology is revolutionary and makes a huge statement in what is currently happening in the contemporary art world and what has been happening with the ever-growing use of social media.

I was thrilled to learn that she was working on a book. It is fantastic and the work included in it is all of her original work from the last five years as well as work from self-portrait artists who are each so different in their styles and statements but, as Natalie says in the book, "they are bound by the commonality of the simple, but powerful act of self-portraiture."


The book starts with an insightful introduction to self-portraiture and Natalie's works as well as the medium's history all the way to what artists are doing today and the advent of social media. She covers everything from equipment for shooting photographs and the technical aspects of making pictures (Chapter 2); choosing costumes and locations, doing nudes, using props and styling hair and make-up (Chapter 3); and, what and how to post-process - everything from simple edits in saturation and levels to creating multiplicity and levitation works (Chapter 4). She also details the process and theory behind many of her photographs, including a series inspired by the painter Balthus and the series she did last year in Death Valley.

Chapter 5 is a Self-Portrait Artist Showcase where she "cherry picked" eight self-portrait artists who offer a broad range of inspiration.

I really enjoyed reading about Natalie's background and process, but Chapter 6 is the most helpful to all photographers, not just self-portrait artists. She talks about how to market your work, using the internet to leverage a career as a photographer and the immense importance of using social media to self-promote and develop an online presence. She goes on to talk about the fine art photography market and important issues facing photographers today, like dealing with theft of images, how to deal with magazines, self-publishing and plagiarism.

Honestly, the book is a wealth of information and it is over-flowing with tips and advice. Plus, it has tons of fabulous images. For me it's a real treat to see them on paper since I've been admiring them online for ages.

, one lucky reader is going to win a copy of this awesome book because the publisher was kind enough to send me a copy to giveaway to you! Seriously, if you love art and are generally interested in photography, you need to own this book. If you own a camera and you share your photos online, you need to own this book. It's amazing and I think you will enjoy it as much as I do.

There are a few ways that you can enter:

1. Leave a comment below!

And, for extra entries...

2. Tweet about it and tell me about it! I'm @ciaochessa
3. Share it on Facebook and tell me about it!
4. Share it with your readers and tell me about it!
5. Send me an email!

The winner will be announced next Tuesday, March 8th.

It's really easy to enter to win and it is SO worth it. You will love this helpful guide. Plus, the photos are REALLY cool!

See Miss Aniela's website here.

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