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Bella Kotak’s World of Enchantment

Bella Kotak 1 ghwigo

Christmas is a time of myth, legend and enchantment, and so once again we have turned to Bella Kotak for our Festive cover. Bella’s art is sumptuously opulent and multi-layered. Each of her works is a story in itself, and we always are honoured to feature her in OX.

From her home in Oxford, Bella’s award-winning Fine Art and Fashion photography reached an international audience. Now splitting her time between the UK and the US, she has grown a following of dedicated fans and admirers of her fantasy worlds; each a celebration of beauty and life, a juxtaposition of reality and fairytale.

The image we have on our cover is part of a new initiative Bella is championing: “Alongside fellow multi-faceted Asian creators Yinsey Wang and Lillian Liu, I wanted to contribute to the narrative of our shared consciousness. So we tapped into a realm we adore – the fantasy world – embarking on a project called Enchanted Asian Day. Our inspiration was Black Fae Day (@blackfaedayofficial) which celebrates black fairy tale creators and helps transform attitudes and empowerment. Every second Saturday of June we invite artists to use #EnchantedAsianDay (@enchantedasianday) to share their work and encourage allies to repost and celebrate them. We aim to embrace diversity in our creative photography genre. With our shared heritage, we felt this could give Asian voices and stories a platform to reach a wider audience.

Model - Lindy / @lindy_miss

Clothing/accessories - Lory Sun Artistry / @lorysunartistry

Retouching – Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik / @solsticeretouch

As a brown-skinned girl, I grew up not seeing myself represented in main roles. In ballet or drama classes, I never got the opportunity to assume an important role and when I look back, neither did my friends of colour. If my goal is to create imagery that captures the viewer’s interest and inspires them to step into my world for a moment, then I want them to feel accepted within it. It does not matter what skin colour, race, or gender you are, you should know instantly that you are not only welcome in my little worlds, but you are a part of it too.”

Self portrait with help from Pratik Naik / @solsticeretouch

Wearing designs by Lory Sun Artistry /  @lorysunartistry

Retouching – Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik / @solsticeretouch

Bella’s “little worlds” are consistently rich in the beauty of the natural world: “Photography has connected me to nature like never before. I now notice the seasons, learning which flowers bloom when, and where, and how magic can emerge in the most ordinary places. I love crafting stories along the roadside or in public parks, briefly installing art through my lens that I then immortalise in photos.”

It is testament to her skillset that not just does she have the imagination to conceive of her visions and capture them with her camera, but she is also heavily involved in the technical process of what happens after the shutter clicks. This year she has established a new online platform; onlythecurious: “photography tools for creatives such as colour toning actions, digital backdrops and educational videos that can assist creatives on fine tuning their artistic style”. In addition there are regular blog posts, Spotify playlists to create the perfect ambiance and a gallery for like-minded creators to share their work.

Model: Yinsey Wang / @tornandpolished

Hair/Makeup: Minaz Mawjee / @mi_inmakeup

Hair - Annette Gray /  @nettgray

Crown - Mr Mortimer’s Wife /  @mrmortimerswife

Red tassels - Monika De Silva /  @monika_ds

Floral umbrella - Safia Designs /  @safia_designstudio

Retouching – Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik / @solsticeretouch

A busy twelve months since we last ‘met’, so just one question – what are you doing for Christmas Bella?

“Spending it with my family, and hopefully experiencing all the lovely Christmassy events and markets that Oxfordshire has to offer!” / @bellakotak / @only.thecurious

Main Image:

Model: Yinsey Wang / @tornandpolished

Hair/Makeup: Minaz Mawjee / @mi_inmakeup

Dress: Joanne Fleming Design /  @joflemingdesign.

Retouching – Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik / @solsticeretouch


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