Search for content, post, videos

Musée Nicéphore Niépce : Sacha


Since 1964, Sacha has built a unique body of work, made of light, rigor and sincerity.  She has entrusted her photographic collection to the Musée Nicéphore Niépce, this exhibition is her first museum retrospective in France.

With her simplicity, Sacha (born Sacha van Dorssen in 1940 in Rotterdam, Holland) was able to establish herself as a singular fashion photographer, identifiable among all, photographing for the most prestigious magazines (Elle, starting in 1964, The Sunday Times Magazine , Stern, Vogue UK, Avenue, Le Jardin des Modes, Lui, Vogue Homme, Harper’s Bazaar Italia, GQ, Bloom and especially Marie-Claire) she worked on numerous advertising assignments for (Yves Saint-Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Dim, … ).

In Marie Claire [from 1977 to 1999, without almost no interruptions, Sacha was published every month in the magazine and its different variants], so many magazines which put their trust in the Dutch photographer who was almost immediately assigned, at her arrived in France in 1964, her first reportages by Peter Knapp, then artistic director of Elle.

Over the years, the care given to framing and details, the sense of color, the mastery of light and the naturalness that emerged from her very constructed photographs have established Sacha with magazines and their sponsors. . With her, the models never seem to pose, they are as if captured in their intimacy, a form of abandonment making us forget the presence of the photographer.  Landscapes also play an essential role. In a subtle way, Sacha knows how to combine mannequins, models and settings by playing with outdoor light, which she prefers to that of the studio. The result is soft photographs, atmospheres where clothing does not seem to be the main subject.

When in 1966 the magazine Elle published a group portrait of its photographers in front of the lens of Peter Knapp, it was not until the second photograph that one of the central characters, dropping her hat, revealed herself  to be a female photographer, the young Sacha van Dorssen. Casually, discreetly in a profession where production was abundant and mixed, Sacha became part of the restricted circle of fashion photographers who passed into posterity.

Made up of several hundred thousand slides, arranged in their little yellow boxes carefully classified by date, and all the supporting publications, Sacha’s photographic collection bears witness to an activity focused solely on fashion photography. This exhibition could also be composed exclusively of covers and double pages of magazines as there were so many. The slides constitute an unlimited raw material from which Sacha and then the newspapers drew “the good photographs” intended to be printed. Because in fashion, the final and accomplished object remains the magazine, where the photographs are laid out and carefully captioned.

Indeed, fashion photography only exists for the magazine and who better than Sacha to embody this complex chain of production of fashion images. When we read or listen to Sacha, the expression that comes up most often is “teamwork”. During each session, editors are active as well as one or more assistants [logistics, lighting, etc.], models, hairdressers, makeup artists… Before the photographer can express herself, she must chomp at the bit!

For several years, Sacha’s assistants carefully documented the various trips for magazines by annotating the technical data necessary for the development of films on the tracking Polaroids. Sacha then gathered this information in her notebooks: location of shots [country, city] and residence when the stay lasted more than one day, name of the different people present, that of the model(s), hotel tickets or restaurant. This real-time referencing work is a fantastic source for understanding the mode of production of these photographs and the resolutely collective aspect. (…)

(…) Sacha likes to photograph the side effects of her travels for fashion and advertising, focusing her precise gaze on unexpected but always perfectly composed details.

It is in this spirit that Sacha is the photographer of works dedicated to Mariano Fortuny 2 and Christian Dior 3 for Éditions du Regard, which will go down in history. First book published by Éditions du Regard, the one dedicated to Fortuny testifies to Sacha’s mastery in capturing the atmospheres [here the very singular one which reigned in the Palazzo Fortuny left almost as is since 1965], highlighting details, foaming tirelessly the palace.

José Alvarez said: “for Sacha, nothing is insignificant” 4 and to do this Sacha adapts to the particular light of the place, she who prefers the outdoors and the sun. For Dior, the game is completely different and her subtle compositions are integrated into the archive photographs that make up the work.

Fashion, advertising, reportages, since 1964, Sacha has built a unique body of work made of light, rigor and sincerity.

Excerpt from the text by Sylvain Besson


February 17 – May 19, 2024
Inauguration Friday February 16 – 6 p.m.
Musée Nicéphore Niépce
28 quai des messageries
71100 Chalon-sur-Saône
03 85 48 41 98

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android