Flickr members have compared photos by Natalie Dybisz, known as Miss Aniela, to high-fashion magazine spreads, art books, even mirroring the edgy styles of Lady Gaga! Her work bridges between reality and surrealism and many viewers call it “unforgettable” and “one of a kind” — critiques that leaves Natalie in awe.
“It’s really flattering when people express how it [her work] looks beyond the norm or speaks to them in a personal way,” she admits to The Weekly Flickr in the accompanying video. “I love it, and it just means I’m doing something right.”
Natalie started out as a self-portrait artist in 2006 sharing her images as an ‘amateur’ solely via Flickr.
“In the beginning, I was cloning myself and making myself fly, doing nudes and landscape-fused dynamic composites,” Natalie says. “They were really fun and creative images.”
In 2010, Natalie was introduced to fashion photography and started shooting other models. Natalie began to improvise by making the images as interesting as her self-portraits; giving it a new and surreal perspective.
“I got such a kick out of making surreal little touches, fusing the pictures with paintings and really toying with how one form of art can meet with another,” Natalie explains.
“All this led to my repertoire today. I do commercial and fashion-led ventures, all with a fine-art approach. I create innovative and curious images.” Natalie defines herself as a fine-arts photographer and not a fashion photographer.
“I’m not so much interested in trends and seasons of the fashion cycle,” Natalie says, “I’m more interested in what I can do creatively with elements of fashion. I like how fascinating, theatrical garments presented in front of my camera can become more bizarre. I like crazy couture and impractical outfits that are more like props than things you’d normally wear. And when I create something artistic, I have to be led by my instinct — what I like to see, not what anyone else necessarily expects to see, and I think that’s what fundamentally makes it fine art.”
Instead of traditional fashion photography — conveying what the model looks like, what she’s wearing, etc. — Natalie likes to embellish her images and create a story.
“Instead of making a fashion story with six images running in sequence, I draw together parts into one, single frame,” Natalie explains. “I call this my Surreal Fashion series. I get really excited when I see the opportunity to put something into the picture that might have no connection at all to where it was shot, or it might be something I shot in the same room or another room at the location, and bring it in together.”
Nearly all of Natalie’s Surreal Fashion images are taken at her Fashion Shoot Experience — select workshops she organizes with her partner, inviting photographers to shoot in incredible locations with styled models. The Surreal Fashion series has come to represent Natalie’s way of making her images stand out from those other attendees, and also everything in the fashion world.
“I like to think of my Surreal Fashion series as an adventure, even for me as the maker,” Natalie says. “When I’m constructing them, it’s like falling deep into a good book. And I want my viewers to feel that too. I want them to enjoy all the nuances in the visuals of each piece, and even to feel slightly ill-at-ease with what is real and not real.”
“I really love what I do,” Natalie admits. “My only goal, if I had to name one, is just to keep pursuing wonderful adventures in photography.”