United Kingdom
2005 - 2008 : (Joint Hons) English and Media, University of Sussex, England
2021 : Aesthetica Art Prize 2021, selected in 125 artists for publication in Anthology Future Now
2020 : Photographer of the Year, ND Awards, Birth Undisturbed
2020 : Aesthetica Short Film Festival Official Selection
2019 : Portrait of Humanity, British Journal of Photography, 50 Winners
2018 : Winner, 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Award
2018 : Mother Art Prize, Final 20 Shortlist
2018 : First Place, Nudes Category, Chromatic Awards
2018 : Nominated for RPS Hundred Heroines
2018 : Three Honourable Mentions (Fine Art, Special Effects, Advertising/Conceptual), IPA Lucie Awards
2018 : Finalist for Kuala Lumpur Portrait Prize, Malaysia
2018 : Shortlisted for the Hopper Prize
2018 : Surreal Fashion, Honourable mention in Digital/Enhanced, Prix de Photographie
2017 : ‘Bloom Face’, Honourable mention in Fine Art, International Photographer of the Year
2017 : Selected for Young Masters' Art Prize Tour
2010 : Selected for Photo-Space month's solo exhibit space curated by Alternative Arts London, England
2020 : Her Story: Contemporary Female Artists Worldwide, Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, Gallery 1202
2020 : Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, Gallery 1202
2020 : Photo LA, Virtual Art Fair, Camp Gallery
2020 : Photo LA Art Fair, Gallery 1202
2020 : Behind the Lens of a Captured Ideal, The Directed Art Modern, Miami, USA
2019 : Le Compose, Le Raffine, Rencontre Le Sauvage, The Directed Art Modern, Miami, USA
2019 : Sauvage et Beau, The Directed Art Modern, Miami, USA
2019 : Organ Vida International Photography Festival (w/ BJP Portrait of Humanity) Zagreb, Croatia
2019 : Lagos Photo Festival (w/ BJP), Lagos, Nigeria
2019 : National Centre For Photography in Ballarat (w/ BJP), Victoria, Australia
2019 : Louisiana State Museum as part of PhotoNOLA Festival, (w/ BJP), New Orleans, USA
2019 : Solo show, Julia Margaret Cameron Award Winner, Barcelona, Spain
2019 : Mother Art Prize, Finalist 20 Group Show, Mimosa House, London, England
2018 : Exhibited at Whitebox Gallery, Kuala Lumpur Portrait Prize Shortlist
2018 : Us Bright Young Things, The Directed Art Modern, Miami, USA
2018 : Timeless Tales, joint show with Adam Martinakis at CultureInside Gallery, Luxembourg
2018 : Faces Series, The Directed Art Modern at Palm Beach Art Fair
2017 : ‘Coalshed Face’ acquired in permanent exhibition at The Coal Shed, London, England
2017 : Surreal Fashion permanent exhibition (12 images) at Crillon, Paris, France
2017 : Solo exhibit Twelve Women in Academia at Houses of Parliament
2016 - 2017 : Surreal Fashion at Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde Museum Stockholm, Sweden
2016 : Solo exhibit 'Twelve Women in Academia' for University of Sussex at Attenborough Centre for the Arts, & Brighton Jubilee Library
2016 : ‘White Witch Awakening’ permanent exhibition at Aynhoe Park UK
2014 : Surreal Fashion at Castle Fine Art, London, England
2014 : Solo exhibition 'Surreal Fashion' at Photosynthesis Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria
2014 : Saatchi Gallery, Continental Shift by Saatchi Art
2014 : ‘Kai Face’ commissioned for permanent exhibition, Kai Mayfair, London, England
2012 : 101 Glimpses of Photo Vogue by Vogue Italia, Corso Como, Milan, Italy
2012 : 'Women: Inspire & Enterprise', Hospital Club, London, England
2012 : Alexander Salazar Gallery San Diego
2012 : Solo show, Man-made Images Ireland
2012 : San Francisco Fine Art Fair, JoAnne Artman Gallery
2012 : Affordable Art Fair New York, JoAnne Artman Gallery
2011 : JoAnne Artman Gallery LA
2010 : Art of Photography Show San Diego, USA
2010 : Solo show, Selected for Photo-Space curated by Alternative Arts London
2010 : Group show, The Fishing Quarter, Brighton seafront
2009 : Buenos Aires Photo, Camara Oscura Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2009 : Photo Miami, Camara Oscura Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2009 : Estampa Fair, Camara Oscura Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2008 : Solo show 'Self-Gazing' at Camara Oscura, Madrid, Spain
2007 : Solo shows ‘Self Gazing’ at Impure Art Brighton and Apartment C London
2007 : Solo show at North Laine Photography, Brighton, England
2010 : Self Portrait Photography, Ilex/Pixiq Editions
2011 : Creative Portrait Photography, Ilex/Pixiq Editions
2010 - 2017 : Telegraph Magazine, BBC World, RPS Heroines, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Fahrenheit Mexico, Elle Thailand, Alarm Chicago, The Metro, The Sun, Plastik Magazine, Normal Magazine, Saatchi Art One to Watch
opened up her studio to us. Watch the video of our visit to learn more about the artist's approach.

The photographic work produced by Miss Aniela (Leeds, UK, 1986) focuses on the female form contextualised with elaborate staging. The British artist digitally manipulates images to combine various surrealist elements in her photographs. 

Early days in photography with surrealist self-portraits  

It all began with boredom, distraction and a sense of curiosity: Natalie Dybisz began uploading photographs of herself on Flickr in 2006 when she was studying English & Media at the University of Sussex. Long before the selfie trend took off, the artist was using the medium to express her creativity. Fascinated by the immediacy of digital photography and the endless possibilities opened up by manipulating images to alter reality, she published her photographs using the alter ego Miss Aniela (her middle name). 

In these playful and original self-portraits, the young artist explores her surroundings using fantastical and surreal poses. Her body is sometimes digitally duplicated, allowing her to "become almost someone else, a higher self, a multiplicity of different ‘selves’". Her Self-Gazing series, fine-tuned over various years of experimentation, began to attract a huge and increasingly enthusiastic audience on Flickr. An invitation to Microsoft's Pro Photo Summit in 2008 launched Miss Aniela into the world of contemporary photography and exhibitions. 

Surreal Fashion: a fantastical world of locations, femininity and surrealism

Despite her success, the photographer soon came up against the limits of self-portrait and wished to turn the lens onto other subjects. Following her Ecology series exploring the relationship between humans and nature through visual references to pollution, deforestation and climate engineering, she began a new project in 2011 called Surreal Fashion, which she developed over the next seven years. This series is described as a "fusion of traditional imagery and digitally enhanced motifs, interweaving in a surreal composition". 

The Surreal Fashion images feature three key elements: incredible shoot locations, models in sophisticated dresses and motifs worked on by the artist in post-production using various sources of inspiration. To find shoot locations, Miss Aniela travels around Europe and the USA in search of sites with rich histories and decor: French châteaus, American mansions and historic British homes all provide wonderful backdrops for the stunningly beautiful models. The women wear elegant or eccentric costumes ordered from stylists and fashion creators, hired from theatres or personalised by the artist and her team. 

Once the photographs have been selected, the creative work begins on Photoshop. Miss Aniela adds in motifs (such as animals, mythological creatures and sea landscapes) mainly taken from classic paintings. She seeks to create synergy between the classic and the contemporary; between painting and photography. The result is a visual universe that can be opulent, magnificent, or bizarre, but always has a unique atmosphere, story and aesthetic. 

Miss Aniela: an ongoing artistic renewal

We cannot ever create something purely true or original. What we can do, however, is constantly question everything we do create, question everything around us from which we are taking inspiration, and enjoy being the perfection of being imperfect.

Being so creative, Miss Aniela is constantly developing herself as an artist. However, her work would never see the light of day were it not for her unrivalled commitment, organisational skills and determination. The Surreal Fashion series was a complex project that took a great deal of logistical, administrative and communicative effort and a team of specialists (including stylists, hairdressers, fashion models and make-up artists). Miss Aniela works closely with her husband Matthew Lennard and explains that they "live and breathe photography, [and are] constantly thinking of new ideas". 

Although her boundless curiosity means each project is different from the last, the female form is the common thread. The artist's most recent series, Birth Undisturbed, explores the theme of maternity. Following a personal tragedy (her first son was stillborn after a fatal condition was diagnosed in the eighth month of pregnancy), and inspired by the literature on the theme, the artist strives for an innovative representation of childbirth that is realistic yet staged in an almost cinematographic way. In the current context where childbirth is often highly medicalised and controlled, the series shows "the wonder and the emotions and the textures of childbirth" to encourage pregnant women to face birth without fear in an "undisturbed" way, as the title suggests, following their natural instincts and trusting in their ability to bring new life into the world.

Recognition from the world of art and photography 

Social media facilitated Miss Aniela's early career by enabling her to share and publicise her initial self-portraits. But it was the Surreal Fashion series that made her an international success and gave her recognition in the art world. One exhibition that has been key in her journey was held at Stockholm's Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde Museum in 2016. Saatchi Art has twice named her artist ‘One to Watch’, in 2010 and 2017. Her work was also part of the ‘Continental Shift’ exhibition at London's Saatchi Gallery in 2014.

The contemporary photographer's Twelve Women in Academia series, in which she takes inspiration from the style of Rembrandt portraits to showcase the work and lives of 12 female academics at the University of Sussex, went on display at the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) in 2017. The Birth Undisturbed series has also won several prizes: ND Awards Photographer of the Year 2020, 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Award 2018, finalist at the Mother Art Prize, Kuala Lumpur Portrait Prize and British Journal of Photography’s ‘Portrait of Humanity’ 2019.

Miss Aniela exhibits at galleries, fairs and festivals worldwide, and takes part in a range of talks and events. Her work has also been featured by highly regarded media platforms including The Telegraph, the BBC, NY Arts, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and Vogue Italia.