Dina Belenko – I have a phrase which describes me precisely: “My name is Dina and I tell animate stories about inanimate objects”.
I’m a person with little paper cities, sugar cubes, moon from polymer clay, doll’s miniatures, broken cups, handmade Rube Goldberg machine, repainted puzzles, wire trees, cardboard dragons and spilled coffee. And with photo camera. That’s quite essential me. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a book publisher. I received a humanitarian education (Publishing and Editing). Oddly enough, this education was useful to me as a photographer: both in the technical part (the basics of image processing and prepress) and in the creative part (inspirational courses literature, aesthetics and cultural studies). I think it’s my dream to do book illustrations is a kind of desire to combine these two specialties together.
I can’t exactly tell when I became interested in still life photography , but it for sure started more like hobby then my future profession. But I tried to practice as often as possible and became more and more passionate for photography. Once I realized that this is what makes me truly happy. And then I left my editorship at a local publishing house and became a freelance photographer. Since then, I did not regret a single second of this decision.
When I began studying photography, I tried various genres: landscapes, portraits, street. Finally I understood that what interests me lies not in tracing some events and retelling stories of some happenings, but in creating tales of my own and the easiest way to do this is when you have control over all the objects in your shot. Every object around us keeps our emotions, expectations, feelings, every single thing grows old and breaks down just like we are. Things can tell what they saw, who held them, who accidentally broke them, who lovingly gathered them in pieces and repaired. You always can select an object (e.g. recently bought cups, magnifying glass or shell) and come up with a little adventure for it.
Take a cofee cup for example. It may belong to the astronomer and reflect the stars or lunar eclipse. Or a steam from a hot coffee can rise above it, and in this cloud kites or blimps might fly. I love all these stories and I’m trying to capture them.
I think it’s really fascinating: all these connections between things, their small transformations, their secret life and even simple comparisons in a “what does it look like” game help us understand how everything is set up. How does our mind work to find these connections? How does the world build them? You may imagine yourself as an explorer, like David Livingstone, in a world of inanimate objects. I don’t really know if it has any real importance, but anyway, it’s very interesting.
If I had to choose my favourite project it would be an „Endless Book“. Endless Book Project is a big panorama about outer space, chocolate cookies, dreams of interstellar flight, coffee, cupcakes and meeting with aliens. It was initiated by a very talanted illustrator Natalie Ratkovski and the magazine “Beamused”. We started with the New Year 2014 and will finish at the New Year 2015. Every week each member of the project create one illustration in any possible technique (photographs, watercolors, computer graphics, etc) on any possible theme. There’s only one condition: the illustration on the previous page should flow smoothly into the next one, so there shouldn’t be visible seams or rough blends. So, in the end of the year each participant will have large panoramic image, an endless book which will consist of 52 images, and can be continued. [Official Website]