Photographer Reveals How She Captured Surreal “Butterflies in My Stomach” Self-Portrait

Anya Anti - Behind the Scenes Conceptual Photograph - Butterflies in the Stomach

Ukrainian-born photographer Anya Anti is known for her surreal, conceptual photography which is exemplified in her newest project, aptly titled Butterflies in My Stomach. Superbly photographed and composited together, Anti gives a visual voice to a feeling many of us have experienced.

In our recent interview with the photographer, she shared: “Photography is not only what I love, it’s also a gentle and romantic side of me. It's a reflection of my deep emotions, passion for unknown and craving for beauty. What I’m trying to show is a beautiful image and photography techniques, but also convey an idea, mood, atmosphere, and associations.” In this particular case, Anti works to achieve feelings of anxiety and depression that have personally affected her.

Art can often be a release for people struggling with dark emotions, helping them make sense of what they are experiencing. In Anti's case, the self-portrait reflects what she's experienced internally. “This image is a metaphor of dealing with stress, anxiety and releasing my inner bugs,” Anti tells us via email. “I've had issues with dark thoughts and depression for the past couple of years and this image represents my attempt to reconsider my life and to be reborn into a new person.”

And apart from the emotional considerations, the work is yet another stunning achievement that demonstrates the self-taught photographer's technical ability. She spent 3.5 hours photo editing in order to merge two images seamlessly together for the final look. But lest you think she was happy to rely completely on digital post-production, she shared that the biggest challenge was actually in the initial setup. Aiming to arrange things so that the images would be as realistic as possible, and thus requiring less manipulation in Photoshop. Scroll down to see some behind-the-scenes shots.

These behind the scenes images and incredible time-lapse of Anya Anti's editing session demonstrate how she pulled together the conceptual photograph.

Anya Anti - Behind the Scenes Conceptual Photograph

Anya Anti - Behind the Scenes Conceptual Photograph
Anya Anti - Behind the Scenes Conceptual Photograph

Anya Anti: Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Anya Anti.

Related Articles:

Interview: Self-Taught Photographer Brings Her Imagination to Life in Stylishly Surreal Portraits

20-Year-Old Photographer’s Dreamy Conceptual Portraits

Dreamlike Scenes by Conceptual Photographer Jenna Martin

Surreal Portraits of the Human Form Hiding Behind Reflections of Nature

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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