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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cover Talk: interview with Bella Kotak

I am super, super excited today to introduce you guys to the totally awesome Bella Kotak. I managed to wrangle Bella into doing an interview with me (thanks, Bella!)

Bella is the cover model on the UK edition of The Lost Girl, which is now officially available - yep, that's her face below! - and she also happens to be the photographer too. Which seems twice as cool to me. I'm normally so intrigued by cover models, and the process behind designing book covers, so when my editors at Random House Children's Books told me about Bella, I jumped at the chance to find out more.






Hi, Bella! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi Sangu! Alright, well my name is Bella and at the moment I work as both an architect and a photographer. 

Did you always want to work in photography? Or was it just something that happened?

Photography for me began really as a hobby. I'd always been interested in taking pictures and in 2006 discovered Flickr and the incredible amount of talent on that site. I came across a few people who were doing a 365 project ( a self portrait a day for a year) and that inspired me to pick up a camera and see what I could create. It was this project that really challenged and fuelled my passion and by the time I bought my first dSLR I was completely hooked. After that it really was a case of friends seeing my work and either hiring me or recommending me to new customers. I wouldn't have come as far as I have if it wasn't for their support.

The photo on the UK cover of THE LOST GIRL is a self-portrait, right? So you were the photographer and the cover model. Can you tell us what that was like?

Yes it's a self-portrait. Taking one is relatively straight forward, it's just a simple case of setting the camera up on a tripod and using a wireless remote to release the shutter. The edit is later done in photoshop.

I was given a synopsis of the book as well as several precedents of the style / look the publisher was going for. They'd already been through my work so were able to tell me what they liked and wanted me to provide expressions that was akin to the concept of feeling lost, watchfulness and so on. 

I provided them with a selection of images and we then began discussions.

What are some of your favourite books?

I guess anything with an element of fantasy and adventure. I love Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and South of the border, West of the sun both by Haruki Murakami and of course Harry Potter! I also love flicking through photography books, my favourite is Pictures, by Tim Walker. It's huge and bursting with creativity!

And finally: you're stranded on a desert island. What three things would you take with you?

Shampoo, ipad, hammock. If I had to be stranded at least I could be comfortable ;)


Isn't she fab? Hope you're all having a fantastic week!

12 comments:

  1. I <3 Bella for being on such an awesome cover. Preeettty cover! It's going to confuse me putting a name to the cover... People may wonder how I know this XD

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  2. Wow, what a gorgeous photo! I love the idea of a self-portrait every day of the year. Great interview!

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    1. I think it's such a cool idea too! I'd hate to see what my self-portraits look like on a grumpy day, though...

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  3. You know, as many times as I've seen that question I have never thought of taking shampoo to the deserted island. How could I not have thought of it??? I HATE not having my hair clean, shampooed and conditioned.

    Nice to meet you Bella, love the cover!

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    1. ME NEITHER! And I'm obsessive about hair-washing. So I don't know why I've never thought of it before.

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  4. What an interesting interview. I never would have guessed that the model could be the photographer, and that it could work out so well.

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    1. I knew I wanted to find out more about the process as soon as I heard about Bella, so I'm so glad you found it interesting too!

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  5. What an awesome cover. Loved getting the model/photographer perspective. Thanks Sangu and Bella =)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ruth! I'm glad you enjoyed this :-)

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  6. What a pretty cover!! I really like it!! Great interview too. I think that is so cool that the photographer is the model too.

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