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Self-Portrait Photography: The Ultimate in Personal Expression Paperback – March 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Natalie Dybisz is an award-winning photographer better known by her Web name of Miss Aniela. Recently American Photo magazine featured her on its cover in a typical self-portrait, dubbing her a “superstar of Flickr.”
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pixiq; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600597858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600597855
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on March 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I approached this book with trepidation, fearing an exercise in narcissism and self indulgence. The fact that the author called herself "Miss Aniela" did nothing to allay my fears. Instead I found a delightful examination of a photographic genre that I had never explored.

The book is a combination of portfolio and instruction manual. Each teaching point is laid out on a two, or occasionally four, page spread, with text and pictures of and by the author. The text ranges from introductory matters like choosing a camera, through posing and post-processing to marketing. There is also a section showcasing the work of eight other self-portrait artists.

Dybisz's photographs are quite wonderful. One might expect self-portraits to be an exploration of the photographer's view of herself, and at least when she started, the images were. As she began to get more involved though, she seems to have pushed beyond herself into experimenting with a wide variety of photographic techniques, and did so successfully. Her pictures usually are quite dramatic, often featuring lush lighting, and frequently consisting of collages of two or more images of herself. Although I frequently felt these pictures had a meaning that I couldn't deduce, they were still a pleasure to examine.

I suspect that the instruction might have been a publisher's requirement for better marketing. In most cases I find such material to be superficial. This text certainly was at a simple level, although it did point out the special requirements of self-portraiture. New photographers may get an introduction to photographic ideas and even the more experienced may get an idea or two. But aside from that, the author's style has a youthful enthusiasm that makes it delightful to read.
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Format: Paperback
A two part review:

1. The photos in this book are interesting, personal, engaging, and beautiful. Natalie is very talented, and obviously has strong feelings about her art. The decision to bring other self portrait photographers into the book adds a lot too. I loved reading about the processes behind the images.

2. Much of the writing is pretty terrible, and could have benefited from some heavy editing. The book begins very slowly, with an essay about self portrait through history. This is hardly anything more than a list of artists' names, and adds nothing to the book. If this was a college paper, I would mark it C-, and comment "Trying too hard to list every example without adding any original thoughts."

I know Natalie Dybisz through her blog, and love the personal nature of her photos and writing there. By trying to be more formal for this book, much of the personality is missing. She also continually says what is coming up in the book or chapter, which seems to be nothing but padding. One sentence reads "This chapter will cover these issues." Stop saying what you are going to write about, and write about it! We are going to read it, so you don't have to tell us what we are about to read on the following pages. Full paragraphs early on in chapters are given over to what is coming up. I've never read anything like it before. It's like the text of the proposal to the publisher was left in intact.

To enjoy this book to the fullest extent, skip reading the first few chapters, and just look at the images. The chapters on gear and equipment can be summed up by "Get a DSLR, a tripod and a remote." Start reading at the Shooting chapter, as that is where the real content begins, and we, as readers, begin to learn something.
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This is a book that is clearly written in a style that is for a younger generation. Very simplistic in its approach, with little depth. I gave it to my 15 year old daughter and can think of many other teenagers who would benefit from it. In saying that, I am fascinated by her photography, how she achieves what she does and the creativity that goes into it.
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I found this book to be very helpful. It cuts to chase, and provides for stimulus for creative work. Instead of using this book to blow her own horn about how good she is, she tries to help the reader, and reveal some of the mystery behind beautiful self portraits.

I am very happy I have this book in my library. It is certainly one of my essentials.
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I paid a few hundred dollars to attend one of Miss Aniela's levitation workshops. While what I learned during the workshop was priceless and it has changed the way that I approach shooting forever. I purchased this book because I am a huge Miss Aniela fan. For those of you who want to understand her approach to processing and her levitation techniques, this book explains the secrets and you won't have to spend hundreds of dollars for the information. Highly recommended.
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This book is an excellent balance between the technical and artistic discussion of photography. It is not a cookbook, and you will not get recipes per se, but it will certainly help you reflect on the art. It will also give a clear sense of how things can be done so you can experiment on your own.
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This book is very inspiring to me. It tells you what techniques she use to create the image. I'm not sure that everything is self portrait though... A lot of images looks like someone else photographed. Anyways, I like the book, and still reading it. It's a book that doesn't teach technical things step by step but show you what amazing things cameras can do which is exactly what I need. Great book.
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