THE FILMMAKER EXPLORES MONTENEGRO
Daniel Nyul, founder of Awesome 8 Productions, was born in Budapest. Like most lifelong passions, he was fascinated by photography from an early age. However, it was his bold move to Montenegro which sparked the beginning of his career. He instantly fell in love with the country’s dramatic coastlines, mountains and limitless scenic locations, as well as its deep and diverse culture. Daniel’s portfolio includes working with companies such as leading development Porto Montenegro and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, where he had the opportunity to shoot on location around the world in places like Grenada, Malta, Saint-Tropez and Turkey. Daniel’s work ethos is simple: observe and capture genuine moments. As a result, his extensive collection of shots illustrate life, nature and people at its rawest.
Q. When did you first pick up a camera?
A. My father used to do a lot of film photography when I was growing up, so I was always surrounded by cameras and photography. But I never really got into it as a child because the learning curve with film is pretty steep. You take 36 shots, then you have to wait for it to be developed and it is far from cheap. I only started really playing around with cameras once affordable decent quality digital cameras started coming out in the early 2000s. I remember coming across a digital photography magazine and I was blown away by the pictures, so I convinced my dad to buy a mirrorless Sony camera and that’s when I started shooting as a hobby.
Q. How did you get into professional photography? What’s your story?
A. Moving to Montenegro inspired me to take more pictures of the scenery, the port being built and the lifestyle of expats in an emerging luxury destination. I started working for the Porto Montenegro marketing department in 2010. Some of my early shots were sent to businessman Peter Munk, who previously owned a majority of Porto Montenegro, and he really liked them, so that automatically made me the in-house photographer. As I moved on, and started working for other developments, photography and videography started to play a larger part in the work I was doing. After a while, I decided to take a leap of faith and start freelancing in 2016. I realised immediately how difficult it is and almost gave up a couple times in the early days. But, four years in, I started to see that it was worth it, and I now get to work on amazing projects. Since then, I have joined forces with my girlfriend Ekaterina Logunova, who is also a photographer and we go through the entire creative process together.
Q. Any role models?
A. My role models are a mix of photographers and directors: Mark Read, as he was the first big photographer I worked with and learnt a lot from; Jimmy Nelson for capturing beautiful environmental portraits; Steve Mcurry for capturing culture; Slim Aarons for capturing style; Wes Anderson for setting the scene.
Q. What do you love most about Montenegro? What’s so magical about this place?
A. Montenegro is about the variety of landscapes. You can go from Venetian old towns in the Bay of Kotor, through the second deepest canyon in the world and 2000m+ mountains, to the 13km long Velika Plaza – which is one of the longest sandy beaches in Europe – within a couple of hours. All regions in Montenegro have their unique culture, food and people. If you think you know Montenegro, go visit Ulcinj or the north of Montenegro and you will feel like you’re in a totally different country.
Q. What are your top three greatest achievements as a photographer?
- I am probably most proud of ‘The Bay and You’ video we shot in 2017. We got total freedom from the client just to sell the Boka Bay lifestyle in our own way.
- I got to shoot a big project on the island of Hvar for a development. While the videos have not been released yet, it was a great experience to shoot local artists and craftsmen for a month.
- The billboard campaigns we have shot for Porto Montenegro over the past few years. We really got to experiment with telling a story through still photography.
Bonus answer – The ‘Out in the Open’ series I shot with my friend Al Hales. We went around Montenegro and filmed cooking in nature, just for fun.
Q. What’s on your bucket list? Anywhere you want to go and places you want to shoot?
A. We really want to go to the Lofoten Islands in Norway, which is of course a photographer’s paradise. Since I love the mountains Tibet would be a great place to visit too. Our goal is to travel for work and get to experience these places while doing what we love.
Q. What drives and inspires your work?
A. My partner always pushes me to do better. She is the biggest critic of our work and she inspires us to drive forward. Photography is very fulfilling work. You start by coming up with an idea, selling it to the client and then slowly making a plan on how to create it. After working long weeks, putting it together, and finally shooting it, it’s a very satisfying feeling to see the product of your creativity printed on a billboard or cover.
Q. Top 5 best places to visit or see in Montenegro and why?
A. These are some lesser known places that are off the beaten path:
- In Komovi, you get to sleep at the foot of 2400m+ peaks, whether you hike them or not, the experience is unforgettable.
- Veslo is in my opinion the most beautiful beach in Montenegro.
- Trnovacko Jezero is a stunning heart shaped lake which takes two hours to hike.
- Ada Bojana – Stay in a river hut on the delta of the Bojana river.
- Crvena Greda is an easy, but amazing, hike in Durmitor above Lake Jablan.