Natalie Dybisz \ Miss Aniela

“The Smothering”


My “Tricks” series is inspired by the anxiety disorder and for “The Smothering”, I wanted to represent the symptoms of shortness of breath and lightheadedness. The ambiguity of the disorder (and its frequent misinformation or ‘dustbin diagnosis’) spurred me to produce images that demonstrate the psychological complexity of the mind of someone likely to suffer from anxiety: being more than a low ebb, but a daily roller-coaster of going from emotional peaks to troughs. For me, this image is a lively portrayal of what is often disconcerting in reality. However, I welcome that people have taken their own wide-ranging interpretations.


My self-portraiture began as a pastime, grew into a habit, and evolved into a niche. Although I shoot other subjects, I continue to find self-portraiture not just convenient, but also rewarding for the way ‘personal’ becomes ‘universal’ through sharing my various semblances of ‘self’ with the world. I am interested in hitting the spot between real and surreal, employing digital means to sometimes achieve impossible illusions. There is not always a method to the madness; sometimes it is about what my self-portraiture tells me, fueling an element of psychoanalytic interplay to keep my work asking as many questions as it answers.

Selected by Natasha Egan, Curator and Executive Director at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.