by Editor Marius Cinteză
“Before taking a picture I like to live the moment, to feel that I’m completely immersed within the place I am, in harmony with everything around me, no matter the situation, joy or sadness, I like to be totally there, where I am, and starting that moment each picture I take becomes alive.” ~Dan Mirică~
Dan Mirică is one of the most talented representatives of the new generation of Romanian photographers. The photography came into his life as a consequence of his desire to live a free life. After about 2 years of inner searching and practising the photography strictly as a job, the photography became the burning passion of his life in 2012, after a trip in Morocco. Since then everything changed completely for Dan.
I invite you to discover Dan and his inner passion for photography in the article below! His pictures will guides us through the wonderful places where he searched for and found the harmony!
Thank you so much Dan for taking the time to participate to this interview! To start, I would kindly ask you to briefly introduce Dan Mirică - the man behind the camera.
When somebody asks me: “who is Dan Mirică?” I just remain silent :)
It's always difficult to introduce myself. To put it simply: all I do in my life I try to do it with passion and dedication; it is not working every time, but usually is working. It is the same with the photography: I’m always looking for passion, harmony and for the present moment.
Dan, when and how did you started your photographic journey?
It have started in 2010, when I entered in a photography – related business: virtual tours services. Before this, I have chosen to live a free life, not being an employer, but accepting less money in my pocket. Then, I entered in this business; I started with an empty website, a DSLR camera Canon 450d, a tripod and a panoramic head, altogether for 1000 euro. For the next two years I've done all: shooting, processing and knocking on the potential clients ‘doors (such as restaurants, hotels) for selling my services. In 2012 I've done a barter by taking some pictures for a travel agency, who offered me in exchange a free trip to Morocco. That trip released the passion for photography for me! After that trip it happened to meet my photography mentor who revealed me a lot of photography secrets.
For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define photography?
For me the photography it is a good reason to go out, to search, to discover, to be in the nature, with the people, to communicate, to enjoy and express the passion for this art. There are several days when I do not touch my camera and this happens often. I do this on purpose to rise a deeper fervour inside to go out and shoot. Very often after these long breaks, the passion and desire to photograph are so big and intense that the photography moments coming after are so overwhelming and full of joy and harmony!
What would be the most important experience so far that have influenced your steps in photography?
The most important experience would be my decision to live a free life and then accepting almost everything that come into it.
Dan, you held photography tours in remote but spectacular locations around the globe (e.g. Cappadocia, Nepal, Cuba and Madagascar). How do you choose these locations and which one impressed you the most so far?
I don't have a special “receipt” for choosing the locations, but I think that most of the times these places choose me. In my discussion with the people and friends we often talk about travelling and places to visit. From these discussions I sometimes go further and start planning how to reach these destinations. Of course, I have a lot of places to visit in my mind, so it's easy to choose, but is not so easy to do the planning. This is because I like to feel a connection with those places and to have something to share with the people I go in these photo tours. I've been in some places that for sure I will never come back again for a photo tour, but I've also been in other places where I feel every time surrounded by positive emotions and being sure that the next time there will be even better (for example Morocco, visited for 10 times already)!
It's hard to say which country impressed me the most. Every country has something spectacular that remained deeply imprinted in my heart, but if I need to peek one I would mention Zanzibar Island (Tanzania) as the one in the top.
Are there any new locations where you plan to organize the photo tours in the future?
Next year I will organize together with a friend a photo tour in Lofoten, Norway. It will be for the first time when I will go that northern and the second time when I go in a photo tour with a group without being there before all by myself. Usually, I like to check by myself the places before; this is why this time I organize this tour with a friend that has been there for several times.
Another new event for the next year will be Safari in Tanzania, together within the Zanzibar photo tour. I've been in Zanzibar twice so far and the last time I lived there and worked part time in a B&B pension for 3 months.
How do you approach a new location when shooting for the first time there: are there any specific subjects or compositions you are looking for during these photo tours?
It depends on the location itself. At the beginning I look for everything that can be of help: touristic places, beautiful landscapes and the local people. Usually, I try to get information from other people that have been there before, or directly from the local people. But sometimes I go there with no information available a priori and start discovering all by myself. There is always something new to be revealed!
How do you manage to connect to the people in these locations and get the most of their authenticity, joy and energy in your photos?
I try to be as open as possible. I talk to them and explain what I'm doing there, why I'm doing, where I come from and then the people start to relax and feel comfortable with me. Usually, at the next photo tour in the location I come back with the printed pictures for them; it is a so nice feeling to see their joy while looking at those pictures!
Could you please tell us how travelling in these remote locations has contributed to your personal development?
Travelling in these remote locations opened my heart. Every photo tour reminds me that my life here is a journey. A journey where I’m engaged with my full passion!
What is the spiritual footprint of these photo tours on you and the other participants?
For me every photo tour it is about step by step self-discovering. I observe myself how I act in different situations in front of different people and I see a continuous learning process. Regarding the footprint on the participants: you should come once and to see it for yourself! ;)
In 2015, you have organized a charity photography exhibition ("Nepal never ending peace and love") to help children of Nepal affected by the earthquake. Why did you feel the need to get involved in this way to help the community?
Sometimes, in order to escape from same thoughts keep coming into your mind, you need to take action and put them in practice, in the real world. So I did it! I knew that realistically I can't get enough money for all the children in Nepal, so I’ve chosen to focus on helping the school where my friend and guide in Nepal was learning when he was young.
Dan, what is your constant source of inspiration for the wonderful photos you take?
I would say that the meditation is the one that helps me to keep searching for the inspiration. It keeps me alive and wondering.
From your perspective what is more important: the story behind your images or their technical perfection?
To create a photo, first of all you have to know about the photography rules and the technical aspects of your camera and lenses. But then, after you learned them, you need to forget about them and live the moment, look for a story, create a story, and then express that moment in an image or series in a harmonious way. So, one cannot actually separate these aspects. It is like a spiritual revelation: if you remain stuck into your mind’s reality, you can't discover the beauty within yourself!
What would be your most important advice to those trying to personal and spiritual transform themselves through photography?
The most important advice I can give them would be to go out more and more and shoot! Sometimes, just go without your camera and only observe the pictures around you!
Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what is the gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Without the gear you cannot materialize the photo, you cannot express yourself in photography. It is the realistic part of photography we cannot live without. I count on my Canon 5d Mark III with different lenses: 35mm f/1.4 L, 50mm f/1.4 L, 135mm f/2 L, 17-40 f/4 L and 70-200mm f/4 L. These are lenses that I use frequently, but I also own a 15mm f/2.8 fisheye and the new comer lens in my backpack: 100mm f/2.8 macro.
Dan, who are your favourite photographer whose works have influenced you and your photography?
I will only mention one: Sorin Onișor, who was actually my mentor and teacher.
Are there any specific photos taken by other photographers that has inspired you a lot?
I remember that once I was impressed by some pictures taken by fellow photographers in Dumești area (Romania). Those pictures inspired me and I wanted to go there to see the location for myself. I found out about where this place is, but with not clear coordinates. I arrived in the area, looking for the indicated place, but I didn't really found it. It was frustrating! I started to relax and talk to some local people, but not about the place I was looking for because I didn't know how to explain them the pictures. And then one local told us to go in a certain direction because we’ll find something even more breath-taking than the place I was trying to describe. And he repeated this several times! So we did and we eventually discovered “the place”. We found there a shepherd family with their little boy taking care of ships and we spent some valuable times with them! When we came back next day we gave them some printed photos and they were very happy seeing themselves in those pictures! I realized then that you cannot reproduce a picture you saw before, even if you go in exactly the same place where the others have been before. But if you open yourself and you go there with your passion and desire, you will discover your own, true and genuine story!
Can you please share with us your favourite photo taken by yourself and tell us why it is special to you?
The photo below would be my favourite one. It was also my first photo published in the 1x gallery! I lived intensely that moment and I felt loved by the life itself! From my point of view, when you create an image with nature elements, animals or people merging together harmoniously you actually create a present moment in a perfect way. After that, you start creating and searching again and again for similar moments!
Dan, we nearly reached the end of this interview and here is my final question: are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
When I have started my journey in photography I didn't imagine that someday I would be able to organize a photo tour where I will invite my mentor to participate as a guest of honour. It was then a kind of unreachable goal, which now became true: next year my photography mentor will join me in the Morocco photo tour! So, usually I let the life to take me in the best places I'm ready to go and to offer me such valuable presents. What I have to do is to be as open as possible to receive them!