Like many photographers, Daniel Belet was drawn to the medium through the magic of the dark room. He was a teenager at the time and admired the work of people like Henri Cartier Bresson and Raymond Depardon, “photographers who had the ability to reveal the real,” he recalls. He was interested in photography’s ability to, as Beaudelaire says, “extract this mysterious beauty that lies in life unintentionally.” It also helped him to overcome his shyness, he explains.
A Franco-Swiss, Daniel was born in Rodez, France and now lives and works in Zürich with his family, practising photography and working as a retoucher as well. He gained a degree in communication in Grenoble and bought his first camera with his student loan. “I gathered experience working as a retoucher in different laboratories and photolithography, at the time when technology transitioned from analog to digital,” he recalls. And has had a fruitful career working with photographers and art directors in the fields of fashion and advertising alongside his own practice ever since.
When it comes to his own work Daniel’s approach is wide-ranging, combining slick commercial photography with personal projects. “Photography being a real paradigm, I like both reportage photography capable of being part of history as well as the more plastic work of [commercial] photographers,” he tells us, explaining this amalgamation of styles present in his portfolio. In the past, he’s documented the landscape of the Australian outback, created cinematic portraits while travelling through the Andes and captured beautiful panoramic vistas around the world.
“I will describe myself as a jack-of-all-trades in photographic visual expression, especially not wanting to be put in a drawer,” Daniel says, something which is made clear when flicking through his work. “This medium of expression today has so many possibilities with digital technology that it would be a shame to limit its expression.”