Daniel Dencescu was born in Romania in 1985 and now lives with his German wife in Frankfurt, Germany. As a child he dreamt of becoming a painter and studied painting on his own. His passion for fine art photography started in 2008. His photographs show the poetry of the ordinary and he seeks expression in the mostly ignored scenes that surround us, but in which he finds beauty and aesthetics. He enjoys photographing in ”bad weather”, when the landscape is covered with snow, fog and mist.
Daniel’s minimalist photography uses negative space to reduce distractions by not capturing objects that are not part of the main subject. He developed his vision of fine art black and white photography, with minimalistic compositions, lines and shapes to show an abstract version of what we see with our own eyes.
After experiencing them for the first time in Rome in 2006, Daniel has recently specialized in the photography of starling murmurations, and these now dominate his work. These unique images have won many international awards, including International Photography Awards in New York, Fine Art Photography Awards in London, Minimalist Photography (Minimalist Photographer of the Year 2022), Prix de la Photographie Paris, National Geographic Germany.
2022 – Minimalist Photographer of the year 2022, Overall Winner (”Form of Murmurations”)
2022 – Life Framer Awards / Animal Kingdom / Winner
2022 – Athens Photo Festival / Shortlisted for Benaki – Museum
2021 – Newcomer Wildlife Photographer for National Geographic Germany
2021 – ND Awards: 1st Place – GOLD STAR AWARD / Nature – Wildlife
2021 – PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris: Nature – Sky (”Murmurations”) – GOLD
2021 – PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris: Nature – Seasons (”Murmurations”) – GOLD
2021 – PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris: 2nd Place Winner (from all winners) in Nature
2021 – 1st Place Winner Minimalist Photography Awards 2021/Abstract (”Murmurations”)
2021 – 1st Place Winner Fine Art Photography Awards/Wildlife/Animals 2021 (“Murmurations”)
2021 – 3rd Place – Honor of Distinction – 16th Annual Black & White Spider Awards / Fine Art
2020 – 1st Place Winner Fine Art/Abstract IPA 2020 (“Murmurations”)
2020 – Honorable Mention People/Street Photography IPA 2020 (” York in the spotlight”)
2020 – Honorable Mention People/Street Photography IPA 2020 (“On stage”)
2020 – Honorable Mention – 15th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (“The set”, category Silhouette)
2020 – Nominee – 15th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (“Le plongeoir de Saint-Malo”, category Fine Art)
2020 – Honorable Mention – ND Awards (”Facing Nature”, category Nature – Seascapes/Waterscapes)
2020 – Honorable Mention – ND Awards (”Silence”, category Nature – Seascapes/Waterscapes)
2020 – Honorable Mention – ND Awards (”New York in the spotlight”, Special – Street photography)
2020 – Honorable Mention – MonoVisions Awards (“New York in the spotlight”, Street, single)
2019 – 3rd Place – Honor of Distinction – 14th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (”New York in the spotlight” – Silhouette)
2018 – Nominee – 13th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (“Kirkjufell”, category Nature)
2017 – Nominee – 12th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (“Dancing starlings”, Abstract)
2014 – Honorable Mention – 9th Annual Black & White Spider Awards (“Innocence”, Silhouette)
2008 – 1st Place – Romanian National Travel Photography, Vacante si Calatorii (”Art”, Urban)
2022 – Publication in Bird Photographer of the Year Book: Collection 7
2021 – 2 published articles for National Geographic Germany (Murmurations)
2021 – Publication in Minimalist Photography Awards Annual Book 2021
2021 – Publication in Annual PX3 Book No. 15
2021 – B&W Minimalism Magazine Issue 28 – Featured Artist (10 pages)
2020 – FEM Fine Eye Magazine, April 2021 – Featured Artist (1 page)
2020 – B&W Minimalism Magazine Issue 25 – Featured Artist (1 page)
2020 – Publication in the 2020 IPA Winners Book (9 photographs)
2020 – Publication in the Black & White Spider Awards Winners Book
2019 – Publication in the Black & White Spider Awards Winners Book
2014 – Publication in the Black & White Spider Awards Winners Book
2008 – Publication in the Romanian Magazine ”Vacante si Calatorii”
2008 – Published photographs for the German newspaper in Romania ”Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung”
2008 – Published photographs in the Romanian ”PHOTO Magazine”
June 10 – 22. 2022, Galerie Lachenmann Art, Frankfurt, Germany
October 25 – 31, 2021, Prix de la Photographie Exhibition, Espace Beaurepaire, Paris, France
September – October 2022, Murmurations, Monochrome Perspectives, Taunus Foto Galerie, Bad Homburg, Germany
January 7 – February 28, 2022, Stille Momente, Stadtbibliotek, Kelsterbach, Germany
The flight formations of starlings, known as “murmurations”, are an elegant dance and I capture these snapshots of time. Those unique movements are mesmerizing and fascinate me – a huge choreography with shapes that change in a split second. Everything happens incredibly fast, seems disordered and improvised, but in fact every single bird has a role in this coordinated dance of life and death.
The term “murmuration” comes from the sound made by the rapid beating of many wings. It sounds like a grumble and a whisper. By gathering in huge flocks, the birds shelter from their enemies, such as the peregrine falcon. It would be difficult to target a single bird in the mesmerizing crowd. Starlings gather in the evening to give each other warmth at night and to exchange information, for instance about feeding places. To photograph the starlings, you need to know where they sleep, because their incredible flight formations take place in the immediate vicinity of these roosts. As the sun sets, ever more starlings converge from different directions and form a huge, black mass in the sky before settling on the trees where they sleep. The mass can be so dense that the evening sun is completely blocked – hence the term “Black Sun”. The flight formations are not determined by a single leader bird, but by the whole crowd acting as a unit. To execute individual flight manoeuvres, each bird imitates the behaviour of the birds next to it. Starlings react incredibly fast; one moment they fly close together, the next they fly far apart, splitting up and then re-joining – this is how these unique formations are formed, which combine in an enchanting dance.
There is a bewitching beauty in these huge formations. In order to capture this beauty photographically, you must consider various factors. Technology has now made it possible to take photographs of this phenomenon. Some decades ago, it would have been impossible, because you need a camera that can take clear, sharp images in these lighting conditions, without a tripod. This creates unique images that cannot be reproduced, by capturing the “here and now”.
I shoot most of my starling murmurations under a cloudless, clear sky to have an uncluttered background. Every photographic journey requires intense preparation and research, among other things to find the perfect location. I have spent over 200 hours photographing starling murmurations – in the fields of Denmark, Holland and Germany and on the rooftops of Rome. The images are not manipulated in any way.
The images do not have names in the traditional sense. The viewer should use his imagination and not be influenced by a name. I do not want to induce a unique and single valid meaning of forms, but to leave room for free interpretation. In a minimalistic style, I focus on reduced compositions, lines and shapes. It is primarily important to me to express this indescribable beauty in my series of images.