Sacha Dean Bïyan

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Sacha Dean Bïyan
Born
Alexander Dean-Bïyan

(1968-10-01) October 1, 1968 (age 51)
StatusActive
NationalityCanadian
OccupationPhotographer, Photojournalist, Filmmaker, Author, Artist
Websitesachabiyan.com

Sacha Dean Bïyan is a photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker and author based in Manhattan. He is best known for his photography, which ranges from fashion and advertising to portraits of indigenous cultures around the world.

Early life[edit]

Sacha Dean Bïyan was born on October 1, 1968, and grew up mainly in Montreal, Canada.[1] He spent his later formative years in Paris, New York City and Los Angeles, during which he cultivated his interest in music, art and photography.

Bïyan began his career as a club deejay in the mid-1980s while he was still in high school.[2] He initially spun a mix of hip hop, electro, disco and funk, then transitioned to deeper, soulful house sounds, influenced by the likes of Larry Levan at New York’s Paradise Garage. His experiences during those early years were instrumental in shaping the audio and visual style of his later work.[3]

After a somewhat itinerant adolescence, Bïyan trained as an engineer, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Robotics and a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked as an engineer and entrepreneur in the aerospace industry for several years.[4] However, his affinity for photography led him to switch careers again in the late 1990s.

Bïyan began experimenting with cameras, photographic film and darkroom techniques at an early age, inspired primarily by the works of Edward S. Curtis, Sebastião Salgado, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin.[5][better source needed] While he had no formal training in photography, he has said that "I got my schooling on the city streets, at the warehouse parties and nightclubs, photographing just about anything and anyone, and learning from my mistakes... Those experiences were invaluable and taught me more about photography than any classroom ever could."[5][better source needed] Bïyan initially worked in commercial photography before veering more towards photojournalism and filmmaking.

Work[edit]

Bïyan has shot advertising campaigns, music videos and documentaries for clients such as Sony Music, Adidas, GAP, Lexus, PBS and the Discovery Channel; and his editorial images have appeared in GQ, Maxim, Vogue and Marie Claire.[6][better source needed] He has held solo exhibitions of his works in São Paulo,[7] Florence, Barcelona, Paris, and in Los Angeles [8]as a benefit for Amnesty International.

Bïyan is the author of two fine art books: Spiritus Mundi published in 2005, and Eccentris published in 2012. Spiritus Mundi took nine years to complete, and documents his encounters with remote indigenous cultures in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, The Philippines, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, China, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Micronesia.[9] His second book, Eccentris, is a retrospective of his work in fashion and advertising from 1998-2006.

Bïyan's images also served as the inspiration for the music CD Dessous Presents Eccentris: Skin Is In,[10] released in 2006 by German house music label Dessous Recordings. Dessous subsequently released the iTunes album Eccentris Vibes,[11] compiled and mixed by Bïyan.

Eccentris[edit]

Eccentris was an interactive branding concept developed and produced by New York design agency Firstborn Multimedia. Bïyan engaged Firstborn in early 2000 to build an online identity for his edgy (hence eccentris) style of fashion photography. The intent was to develop an equally cutting edge website that combined static images with high definition audio and video, motion graphics, and a dynamic user interface. However, due to bandwidth and computer CPU limitations at the time, many technical hurdles were encountered, and the ambitious scope had to be scaled back significantly to make the site work.

Eccentris.com was finally launched in 2002 to critical acclaim. It still featured ample amounts of imagery, music and motion, and set the bar for photography sites of that era.[12][better source needed] Rob Ford of Favourite Website Awards has described "the legendary website of photographer Sacha Dean Biyan"[13][better source needed] as "a unique sensory experience"[14][better source needed] with "truly awe-inspiring photography that exudes nothing but innovation and class."[15][better source needed] In 2002, Communication Arts named Eccentris one of its Interactive Annual 9 winners,[16] and it was subsequently featured in the September/October 2003 issue of Communication Arts.[17] In 2004, it was recipient of the FITC award for best navigation.[18]

Bïyan's two websites, Eccentris and Sachabiyan.com (also designed by Firstborn Multimedia),[n 1] have been showcased in numerous other print and online publications, including Taschen's 1,000 Favorite Websites[19] and Taschen's Web Design Portfolios.[20] Eccentris is also exhibited in the Web Design Museum, a website that preserves the most influential web designs from the dawn of the millennium.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Bïyan is a self-proclaimed international gypsy who has traveled to over 80 countries for his photographic projects. He is fluent in six languages, and has lived in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. However, he has called New York City his spiritual home, having spent what he said were some of his "most formative years" there.[citation needed]

Bïyan abruptly quit commercial photography in 2007 due to what he called "the Internet and social media’s relentless homogenization and commoditization of the photo industry."[citation needed] He added that "For now, despite the obvious advantages of digital, my obsession with quality always draws me back to traditional means. I use medium or large format cameras, and still prefer platinum palladium printing for my images, which unfortunately cannot be appreciated over the Internet."[22]

Bibliography[edit]

  • 2005 : Spiritus Mundi. Editora DBA. Hardcover ISBN 978-8-5723432-5-1. Portuguese/English.
  • 2007 : Spiritus Mundi. Great Circle Books. Paperbound ISBN 978-0-9798631-0-3. English.
  • 2012 : Eccentris. Editions Lumiere. Hardcover ISBN 978-0-578-10981-7. English.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Firstborn Project Archive is here.

References[edit]

External links[edit]