Less than 10 years ago Natalie Dy­bisz was just a stu­dent. To­day she is Miss Aniela, the fine art fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher. She tells Keith Wil­son about her trans­for­ma­tion

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We came out of the wa­ter­fall with drip­ping Nikons, which were ab­so­lutely fine, but the Canon cam­eras were not so fine! Miss Aniela, fine art pho­tog­ra­pher

It is just seven weeks since Natalie Dy­bisz gave birth to her daugh­ter, Lilith, who is sleep­ing close by while we speak.

“If she kicks off we might need to take a five-minute break,” Natalie warns. Lilith’s birth, she says, has been a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and right now “Life is good”. Not just good: for the tal­ented Miss Aniela and her part­ner, Matthew Len­nard, there is a sense that life is go­ing to get even bet­ter…

Look­ing ahead, do you think you will in­clude Lilith in a photo project?

I don’t know. We’ve been tak­ing some pic­tures to­gether, with Matthew’s help, pos­ing with her for a cou­ple of pic­tures that I’d like to con­sider more artis­tic than your av­er­age cam­er­a­phone shot. A lit­tle bit like my self-por­trai­ture days, but with baby and light­ing. To be hon­est, most of my projects end up start­ing ac­ci­den­tally in some way. When I look back at my self-por­trai­ture and how Sur­real Fash­ion started, these things started out of mo­ments of play­ful­ness; I didn’t nec­es­sary plan it. Who knows what could hap­pen as I at­tempt to take artis­tic child pic­tures?

Quite a few pho­tog­ra­phers be­gan with self-por­trai­ture. Why was that the case with you?

I was get­ting in­ter­ested in pho­tog­ra­phy and I wanted to play with what­ever I had to hand. In the na­ture of any­thing new you just want to be in your own lit­tle world and not be looked at or judged by any­one. A lot of peo­ple say self-por­trait artists are kind of nar­cis­sis­tic. I wouldn’t deny there was an el­e­ment of that, be­cause I was 18 or 19 and ev­ery­one in their teenage years is go­ing to be in­ter­ested in their own ap­pear­ance to some ex­tent, get­ting to know them­selves and un­der­stand­ing how they look. As it went on it be­came more con­sid­ered. I re­mem­ber go­ing onto Flickr and see­ing peo­ple tak­ing a lot of self-por­traits and shar­ing them with oth­ers.

Were there par­tic­u­lar peo­ple who you fol­lowed on Flickr in those early days?

There was a woman called Soleá. Her real name is Car­men Gon­za­lez. There was an Ice­landic pho­tog­ra­pher called Re­bekka Guðleifs­dót­tir; she was one of the first I saw who was call­ing what she did self-por­trai­ture, and I thought it was

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