Octavian Bâlea was born in 1984 in Bucharest and educated in fine arts from an early age in Romania during its chaotic transition from communism to a sort of democracy. In 2005 he moved to Germany to continue his education and earned a degree in the Gestaltung department of the Bauhaus University in Weimar in 2007.
Bâlea had one-man shows of his paintings at the inauguration of the Barbu Stirbey Cultural Center in 2010 and of his photography at the Fine Arts Museum of Szczecin, Poland in 2010, at the City Hall of Reykjavik in 2011 and at the Finnish Museum of Photographic Art in 2012, during the “Helsinki Photography Biennale”.
His photographs have appeared in many magazines and newspapers throughout Europe. He has a studio in the heart of Helsinki where he has hosted numerous Open Studio art evenings with Finnish and European artists and musicians for several years.
For this project, Bâlea employed German, American, Japanese and Soviet cameras ranging in age from 1908 to the present. Ica, Moskva, Graflex, Canon and Bronica with Anastigmat, Zeiss, Schneider & Kreuznach, Zenzanon and Mamiya lenses are but a few of the tools he deployed. Many film formats were used, from 35mm and middle format to 4″X 5″ large sheets from Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, Efke and Fomapan.
But Bâlea developed his own special photographic emulsion recipes to recreate the mood and feel of George Eastman’s brilliant experiments from the end of the 19th century for STORYBOOK HELSINKI AND BEYOND.