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Daniel Franc

Fine Art Aerial Photography

Bio

THE MANDATORY FORMAL PART FIRST…

 

Daniel Franc is an internationally recognized aerial photographer creating fine art photography with his drone, discovering the connections between the internal and outside worlds and the cracks between them. 

 

It’s been only since 2016 that he started this journey, but he had been fascinated by the hidden possibilities in the world around us his whole life as an innovator in areas which were new or outside of the beaten path. He’s also always been in love with nature, even spending some time in his younger years as an outdoor adventure facilitator.  He got his first drone (by an accident, actually) in 2016 and since then, has visited places in the most common areas as well as more exotic destinations which provoked his imagination with new views on our world from the above.

 

This journey has been shared and appreciated by others, too -  he had a solo exhibition in Czech Republic and in Greece and participated in 14 other exhibitions around the world. He’s a multiple award winner, most notably, of the 1 and 2nd place in the Minimalist Photo Awards, 1st and 3rd place in the International Photography Awards, 1st, 2nd and 3d places in Czech Nature photo, 1st place in Aerial category selected by Royal Geographical Society UK or 2nd place in drone category by ND Awards. He holds more than 40 other awards and honorable mentions in international competitions.

 

Photography is his creative project, in his main job, he's quite excited to be working on connecting people globally around big technology themes.

…BUT LET’S GET HUMAN NOW.

 

Ok! So the journey to what you see in my work today went like this: 
 

I never thought I would make photos by a drone. 

Neither would I have thought that it would be about far more deeper things than just photos... 
 

Did it start 6 years ago when I got my first drone? Well yes, but rather no:
 

I was always fascinated by outwards explorations (of the world around us, both in the physical and intellectual sense) as well the internal expeditions (to all what makes my own universe and connects it to other places). This led me to some rather interesting and very different work roles in different industries and to travel the world and spend a few years living on other continents than Europe. 

I do have a slight graphics background as a former full stack developer (the old days when you were creating your own user interfaces as a programmer!) and I’ve always appreciated art, but I wasn’t really active creatively. 

But yes, it all started being serious when my son wanted the XMas gift in 2016 I really felt was pretty stupid: a drone. A very expensive toy that he’ll stop using after 3 flights and cannot do anything interesting, I thought. 

Turns out I was.. absolutely right. 

So after these 3 flights of his, I decided to try this expensive thing out. And, WOW. I got hooked. I realized I absolutely needed this type of perspective in my life. This channel to my creativity. This new way of outdoor expeditions (physically a very lazy one, right). A venue to be with just myself and to actually explore my inner world… 

I started making the photos just for myself, with lots of them initially being made around Trebon in South Bohemia, which I occasionally posted to instagram. There, the curator of the exhibitions in the Trebon Chateau found me and offered me a solo exhibition. What?! A solo exhibition? But we did it. And there I realized how incredibly powerful the connection between my audience, my photos and myself can actually be. That what I’m exploring here are not just the world outside of us and inside of myself… but that the outside worlds are shared by all of us and, not surprisingly, my internal planet contains continents that other people also understand and help them.

I started taking photos more and also sharing them with people more. I was participating in a bunch of exhibitions, had another solo exhibition (in Athens) and my ego likes some of the awards I won. 

But most of all, the aerial photography really helps me as a creative venue to the inside and outside of my world… I can’t imagine how I’d live without it.

Thanks for coming over, and enjoy the journey!

bio
creative

The WHY
(aka Creative statement)

There are 5 main motives to what drives me to create my work. They’re quite beyond my control and “happen” on their own – yet they define what I do. It actually took me several years until I realized that my work, at least the one which creates resonations in me and others, is created by me while driven by one or more of these forces – most of the time unconscionsly. That the joy and sometimes even a powerful push to create these photos is coming from motivations far deeper than just to take a nice pic from the air. But then  it took me yet additional time of reflections, discussions and creative experimentations for me to be able to put them into words. With that… the paragraphs below are a somewhat cautious attempt to put into words which I otherwise present you with my images. 

 

1. IT’S A DISCOVERY OF THE CRACKS BETWEEN THE WORLDS


Aerial photography is not just an adventure expedition of a discovery of the world around us, but for me, it’s a way to connect with the different aspects of it… with the “cracks between/in the worlds”, with its edges and underlying energies. 


I’ve always loved exploring the world physically and intellectually. In the physical world, I’ve traveled to more than 60 countries and besides my native Czech Republic, lived in 3 others for a total of several years. Physically and intellectually, I got always attracted most by things in the world slightly outside of the mainstream. Things which are the edge. Things where worlds connect, collide or crack. 

 

These “edges”, these “cracks” are everywhere. They’re hidden in the middle of the ordinary. The ordinary isn't defined by what we look at, but how we look at it and perhaps from what perspective we look at it. In this sense, I like to look at ordinary things in an ordinary way and discover its edges. I want to discover and share new aesthetics of Earth: patterns, shapes, colors that may be hidden from us from the plain sight.
 

“Ok, but how much Photoshop is this?!” Answer to this frequent question is simple: What you see is what I saw. And I see it in a way that is different from mere reflection of light on a camera chip. So in my postproduction, I always want to emphasize what I really perceive and experience as the main energy in the photo, but always use that as my guidance and authority. Therefore, I do only the usual photography edits, i.e. contrasts, curves, saturations, dodge and burn and cleaning of minor disturbing elements. I never change the location and shapes of elements in the photos, I never add elements to it and I never combine two different photos into one. 

 

2. IT’S AN EXPEDITION TO THE INTERNAL UNIVERSE 


All the explorations of the external world is mirrored by the parallel discoveries in my internal world. The exploration of outside energies is actually an expedition to my internal universe of emotions, thoughts and energies. I go outside to get inside… and from the inside, I get to see things outside. 

 

Later on on my photography journey, I realized that this way of experiencing existence outside of myself helps me map the landscape of internal existence.. with all the aspects of it: of being “thrown” into this world and having to swim on the froth of the day. With all the drama and the peace. With the roaring movement and the peaceful stillness. With all the feelings of being connected but also being totally on my own. The noise, the silence. The crowds, the solitude. I’m actually not taking so many photos of the outside world, but of the core emotions of the human ordeal as I live it with my own existence. 

 

And then even a couple more years down the road, I realized that for other people, this also serves as a map, as a guide for this internal exploration of other people… I was initially surprised when they started describing my photos not in the sense of what is actually on them, but how they leads them to feel their internal landscape…which was often much aligned with how I saw my own world mirrored by the photo. 

 

3. IT’S A REMINDER THAT EVERYTHING, US INCLUDED, ARE SMALL 

 

On this external and internal expedition, drone photography has one incredibly powerful feature for me: it is a way to experience that everything can be small, just a different perspective is needed. 

 

It has a liberating power from anxieties and from being caught in our lives in what may be just a petty matter. Just lifting our head a bit… may be get to a higher plane of looking at things inside and outside… and you get a completely different scale for anything that you may be going through. I need a constant reminder of that. In my work, I’m drawn to sceneries where something otherwise significant or big becomes smaller.. friendly.. even something to play with. 


 

4. IT’S A LIBERATION FROM LABELS AND CONCLUSIONS 
 

The different perspectives also allow for another incredible liberating aspect. It’s a way to become free of semantic limitations of whats good/bad, nice/ugly … it’s the way to escape the limits of labels, categories and definite conclusions. Conclusions help us to fully survive, but they limit us from living fully. My photography is one of the ways out.  

 

The labels and meanings we put on things are arbitrary and context based. Because something ugly can be beautiful, something interesting can be boring, something painful may be healing… Escaping the limits of these labels is one of the life themes for me. For this reason, I didn’t even give titles to my photos initially - I felt I am actually giving them constraints in their freedom of how they talk to you. Now I perceive the titles differently, more as a gateway to your own meanings and labels. 

 

5. IT’S A WORLD TRAVEL WITH A PERSPECTIVE. 


Finally, It’s a new way for me to connect with the outdoors or just to capture my travel experiences. To simply enjoy new perspectives and vistas in the outside and outdoor world.

 

I used to work in the outdoor industry professionally briefly, I love to hike, I love to sit on a meadow, I love to climb a mountain… The visual connection to the outdoors works for me very well. Some people think you’re disconnecting yourself from the world by photographing it – for me, it’s a gateway to it. To the full appreciation of it. Also, a part of what I do is a more traditional travel photography - capturing the sights and locations around the world, perhaps in a way that may be different from what you saw before.

Exhibitions

Solo Exhibitions

  • "Invisible Worlds", Blank Wall Gallery, Athens, Greece, September 2022

  • "With a Perspective", Třeboň, Czech Republic, 2019

Group exhibitions

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  • Czech Nature Photo,  Prague, May-Sept, Czech Republic

  • Glasgow Gallery of Photography,  Glasgow, June, UK

  • Royal Geographical Society,  London, June-Sept, UK

  • indoor exhibition at Dalby Forest,  Sept 2022-Jan 2023 North Yorkshire, UK

  • Outdoor exhibition at Haldon Forest,  Oct 2022-Jan 2023, Devon, UK

  • Outdoor exhibition at Fineshade Wood,  Nov 2022-Mar 2023, UK

  • Indoor exhibition at Grizedale Forest,  Dec 2022- Apr 2023, Lake District, UK

  • " Silence ", Budapest, Hungary, April 

  • " Quiet Landscape" , Vermont, USA, April 

  • Chania Int'l Photo Festival,  Crete, Greece, June 

  • "Of the Earth ", Online, April

  • "Keep it Green" , Los Angeles., USA, April

  • " Purely Abstract ", California, USA, June 

  • "Czech Nature Photo" , Czech Republic, Prague and elsewhere

  • " Color ", Vermont, USA, August, 2021

  • " Contrasts ", Rome, Italy, August, 2021

  • "Abandoned", Los Angeles, USA, September 2021

  • " Van Gogh Photo Award ", Utrecht, Holland, September 2021

exhibitions

Awards

Competition placement (selection)

  • 3rd place, Annual Photography Awards 2022, Special - Drone

  • 1st and 3rd place, International Photography Awards, Fineart - Nature, 2022

  • "Aerial photographer of the year" title and 1st and 2nd place in the Aerial category, Minimalist Photography Awards, 2022. 

  • Winner (category Places),Earth Photo by Royal Geographic Society UK, 2022

  • 1st and 2nd place in the category Landscape, Czech Nature Photo 2022,3rd place in the category Landscape, 2021

  • Gold (Aerial Nature), 2nd Place (All Nature Categories), Top 5 jury selection. Tokyo International Photo Awards, 2021

  • 2nd place in the category, Drone, ND Awards, 2021

  • Top 5 jury selection, IPA - International Photography Awards, October 2021

  • "50 Best BnW Minimalist Photographers" USA, 2021

Honorable mentions and nominations (selection)

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awards

Media, publications

  • Interview, Athens's Voice, 2022 (Google translation)

  • Edge of Humanity, July 2021

  • Daily, November 2021

  • Expats.cz,November 2021

(and dozens of articles based on releases from exhibitions and competitions in UK, Czech Republic, Greece and globally)

Articles and interviews

  • The face of the Czech landscape in space and time, 2021

  • BNW Minimalist Photography Prize Annual Book, 2020, 2021

  • Minimalist Photography 2021 Annual Book

  • Czech Nature Photo 2022

  • Czech Nature Photo since 2020

  • 35Wards Top 100 Photographers

Book photo illustration

Selected catalogs

media
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