Berlin based photographer Dan Beleiu obscures the boundaries of convention, encompassing inspiration found amongst filmic backdrops, embracing directors alike such as; David Lynch and Peter Greenaway (with whom Beleiu has just worked with on an upcoming project) heralding each filmmaker as personal favorites of his. Amassing a fiercely idiosyncratic body of work, Beleiu maintains an impressive clientele, enlisting a wide scope of high-end publications, namely titles such as; Numero, Interview, Wonderland, Vogue, and T Magazine.
Illustrating an effortlessly cinematic feel to each project, Beleiu applies his finely tuned ability in visual storytelling. Employing a methodology whereby characters are dreamt-up amongst Beleiu’s unwavering imagination, conceiving each character for a momentary flick of the camera-shutter. Beleiu also holds an emphasis on creating an atmosphere on set, this element combined with a sharp intuition, consolidates each project, firm in the belief that each character that has been brought to life, for-fills their role in carrying out Beleiu‘s multifaceted visions.
Below, Dan Beleiu talks with Eesome Magazine, detailing his methodology behind his practice:
Looking back to your first initial encounter with photography, when did you realise it would be career pathway that would inevitably lead you to where you are today? Initially, I’d never thought about it as a career, looking back it was more of a hobby that gradually progressed. Going through each step relevant to the field, such as; assisting, retouching, shooting, etc.
Your work illustrates an almost cinematic-esque feel. Do you draw inspiration from elements within film? If not, what and who inspires you? I find that I’m inspired by many things, there isn’t one specific aspect per-se. Generally speaking, I enjoy working with strong characters, continually creating a protagonist in-mind, whether from a movie or someone who I’ve found to be inspiring. From there I tend to work alongside these particular aspects to reach an end goal.
Movies are definitely deep-rooted within my structure of inspiration. Namely, I adore the softness of Greg Araki, the mystery of David Lynch and the genius of Peter Greenaway (with whom I have just worked with on an upcoming project).
Considering that you’re based within Berlin, do you feel the landscape and communities that surround you help inform/inspire your practice? What I find inspiring living and working in Berlin, is the freedom and the overall relaxed way of being. I’m also interested in the club culture that is firmly present amongst the cityscape.
Your online presence maintains a sense of anonymity. Is keeping a level of mystery important to you? Personally, I enjoy mysteries in general, it is also an aspect I use within the scope of my work. Generally, I’m not fond of sharing too much of my life publically.
Do you think Instagram is an important tool to navigate as an Artist? Or is it possible further ones practice without the means of social media? Yes absolutely! Instagram has helped me enormously, especially in regards to forming working relationships with people, and developing my practice. In-fact, I’d say for me personally, Instagram is an imperative tool when it comes to acquiring jobs.
Also, it is fantastic in terms of finding inspiration, and furthering an understanding of how things work within this business!
Mistakes are an inevitable part of the creative process, do you embrace them or remove them altogether? Definitely for me, I like to embrace my mistakes. However, I’m not a precise or calculated person when it comes to my work, I find that when I’m shooting, I don’t necessarily have clear points I’d like to achieve. Ultimately, this is why mistakes tend not to happen frequently, especially when I’m in pursuit of a new project.
Is there a consistent theme you visit within your work, or does it differ upon the conception of a new project? Usually, my references revolve around previous decades, I then adapt them into a present context.
A large part of your oeuvre is centralized within the framework of cover stories, for highly regarded fashion magazine. Are there any key elements to consider when in pursuit of shooting a cover? What is the main criteria? I tend to not adhere to any rules, mainly because labouring over too many ideas, can become a hinderance to the natural intuition that I maintain. The key is to manage the situation and know what you want from the scene or person in front of you. Personally, a successful shoot is when I’ve managed to create a real atmosphere on set, whereby each character is truly engaged within it.
Typically, when the shoot draws to a close, I find myself observing the outcomes and asking myself “Do I really believe this character?” and the answer generally amounts to a firm “Yes”. Consolidating my mission for each project!
With that said, would you say your method of working is instinctive or carefully considered? Definitely instinctive, I truly love to work and live in the moment.
Lastly, do you have any parting wisdom for new up-comers? For new up-comers, my only advice would be; work hard and follow your dreams!