Sacha Dean Bïyan

fashion photographer & photojournalist

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.


January 2005

How did you become a photographer?
How I became a photographer is a story in itself. Who I am at this moment is the superposition of every wave of experience, past, present and future. I am the culmination of foreshadowing because I am what I always wanted to be. I grew up between North America, Europe and Asia, graduated with a degree in Robotics, a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, and am continuing my post-graduate work in forgetting everything I ever learned in school. I worked as a consultant in the aerospace industry for over ten years, ran my own company, did well, lost interest, then turned my attention to fashion photography and photojournalism, which have always been my great passions. I am an infant of the seventies who bought into the idea that anything is possible if we our minds to it. I do what I do for love and not out of necessity, and I revel in the fact that life offers infinite possibilities and challenges. I go through life in different phases like a waveform propagating through space in no particular direction, yet deriving momentum from all the highs and lows.

What motivates you?
Beauty motivates me in everything I do. I try to seek beauty in every facet of life from the most complex creations to the most mundane things we all take for granted every day. I never follow society’s status quo about what is beautiful because I find it too artificially structured and limiting. I am motivated to seek patterns of beauty in nature derived from non-linearity, asymmetry and chaos. I try to look beyond the surface of everything within our reason and logic, and even question the most basic elements so that I can squeeze out those hidden patterns and connections which give continuity to our thoughts and all that we see around us. Nothing is as logical and simple as our brains tell us. If we can overcome the barrier of rational thinking, a whole new realm unfolds before us, offering infinite possibilities and endless freedom for creative expression.

Where do you get your inspirational/creative ideas?

An idea flickers in your head for a few milliseconds amongst a million other flickering thoughts but some shine extra bright, just enough to set off a spark in your brain, which carries through like a filament into the physical and spiritual realm until it forms a concrete vision. Everyone finds his or her sparks from different sources. These neurological sparks originate from ones dreams, experiences, emotions, and memories, or a combination of all these that forms ones perception of reality. I believe that one’s perception of reality is really the basis of all creativity. If your perception is not restricted by rationality or common sense, or a fixed frame of reference for your beliefs, you leave your mind fertile and allow it to absorb as many elements as possible from your environment. In this way, everything, in one way or another, can set off that spark. We transfer thought, idea and spirit, which are abstract concepts, into actual physical matter during the creative process. The final result of a creative inspirational burst is atoms and electrons, whether it’s a piece of poetry, a sculpture, a painting or a photograph. Hence, all forms of art originate from abstraction. Through our senses, our perception, our spiritual drive and our passion we somehow translate that abstraction into form. And just how accurately we perform the translation, I believe, depends on how strong our spiritual link is to what we are trying to create. When we are bonded with our art and create anything derived purely out of love, without any external motivation for money or recognition, that work becomes not only a physical but also a spiritual embodiment of our idea in its purest form.

Where do you get the models for each of your assignments?
Generally, the models are selected by the client, the creative director or the production manager of a particular project. Occasionally they will request my presence during the castings but this is not common. For my own artistic work, it’s a different story because I personally select all the models with my fashion stylist, and we only use people who embody perfectly the roles of the characters we are creating.

Where is your favorite location for photo shoots?
My favorite location, without a doubt, is on the beaches of Brazil along the northern coast, especially in the winter because the light at that time is so clean and pure, and has a special spectral quality unlike anywhere else I have shot.

What was the most exciting assignment you have worked on?
The Earth Pilgrim project was the most exciting and rewarding project I have ever worked on. This was a seven-year journey that brought me to the most remote corners of the globe and allowed me to see and experience firsthand the lifestyles of several vanishing cultures. It started off as a simple travelogue but soon evolved into a spiritual journey in which the photography became a secondary aspect. This is not to diminish in any way the work that went into producing these images because we had the grueling task of hauling around loads of photo gear from place to place, whether trekking through the Andes or the jungles of Borneo or the Amazon, or through the Arctic tundra. After shooting over 3,000 rolls of film and coming face to face with death at least on three occasions, I wear the scars and bruises of this journey on my body with pride as a reminder of the incredible things I was fortunate enough to experience. Earth Pilgrim is really the beginning of a lifelong journey but I finally decided early last year that there was enough material to tell an interesting story, so we held a large scale exhibit in Sao Paulo, Brasil as a retrospective of all this work. There were 150 images on display and the exhibit attracted over 9,000 people in a month and it was covered by nearly every type of media. Now in July a fine art book will be published to coincide with the next exhibit in Barcelona. I think the greatest gratification I get in all my work is to hear how it has positively affected peoples lives from so many places around the world. That alone makes everything I do worthwhile.

What professional advice can you give others?
From my own experience, the sagest advice I can give to any artist is to follow their own artistic vision without any fear or compromise. The path will be strewn with obstacles and deviations but stubbornness and unwavering dedication are the only things that will allow one to maintain the proper direction. And despite what people may say or think, a real artist will be relentless and continue to plough ahead like nothing else matters. Then and only then will the art come to life in its truest form.

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