Bella Kotak + transFORM Gallery NYC - Opening Night

It was the cold wind that hit me first as I walk out of JFK airport. An 8 hour flight flew by with 4 movies and a bag of popcorn. It wasn't my first time to the city, I'd been here a few months ago and the cold chill was a familiar one. On the road to the hotel the bright city twinkled merrily welcoming me, the city roaring with life at only 10pm. A drive through Times Square, bicycles, horns, cars, people, so many people, giant advertisements, this wild electric energy bombarded my exhausted senses. It was the tall buildings stretching toward the quiet skies that strangely reassured me of my place in the world. A small glow amongst a cluster of over a million life lights. I wondered about the lives that lived in those windows far above the city.

I'd arrived for my first show in the United States. My work was to be featured alongside another nature loving artist, Catherine Latson, at transFORM gallery in Manhattan. To say I was a little nervous would be an understatement. Pratik had travelled up from Texas earlier in the day to be a part of this memory and for moral support. We'd worked on many of these images together and so this felt like a big step for both of us. We've always believed in pushing each other and providing unconditional support, essentially a mutual understanding that a win for him is a win for me and vice versa. I'll never forget how passionate he was when sharing news about this gallery show. It really is pretty amazing when someone has your back 100%. 

The evening of the show arrived and we're in the taxi. I'm slipping on my heels bracing myself for what lay ahead. Pratik reaches for my hand and squeezes it gently, I feel his calm energy against my buzzing excitement, this would be the first time I'd see the final pieces hanging up.

The process from inception to creation to printing and shipping and finally on show for the world to see is a long one! Although my work has been featured in magazines and online platforms, it's always been slightly surreal for me to see my work in print.

I suppose it's because a part of me lives in this virtual world I've created for myself. The picture comes together on the computer, it's uploaded onto the internet and shared countless times across social media platforms. However, the final printed product is what I imagine when I hit the shutter button, when I play with colour choices and when I fine tune a picture, "how will it look like printed big?" And on the night of the 4th of February, that's just what I experienced. My work, printed large, colours glowing, ethereal subjects gazing wistfully in another world, every detail considered, Pratik, my love, by my side and well it felt a little unreal.

As I stood there in front of art created in a small pool in Bali, against a cliff in Los Angeles, in a large meadow on a frostbitten early morning in Oxford, in a public park in London, and all the other stories, I felt a sense of a circle completed. 

Thank you to all of you who came out to support me that night. I was astonished to see so many familiar faces, and I know many of you traveled pretty far just to support another artist! That's pretty amazing and believe me when I tell you how thankful I am to have all your lights in my life!!

To purchase an exclusive piece get in touch with the gallery - here
The gallery also created a blog post for the night :) - here

Thank you all for your continuous support! It's you guys that constantly inspire and motivate me! No one knows where the road of life leads, I'm slowly learning to realise that it's all about having faith, staying true to yourself, working hard and enjoying the journey. Easier said than done but hopefully that's what makes it all worth it in the end!

Bella Kotak

Bella Kotak is a fine art and fashion photographer currently based in Oxford & London, England. An art lover from a young age she always knew that she would work within the creative industry. Photography changed her life when she picked up a camera and began a 365 project. From that moment she was hooked by this medium that translates thoughts and imagination into tangible form and has since been featured in several magazines around the world.