photo by Lars Hyttinen
Mark Sadan was born in Syracuse, New York, during the Second World War. At the age of 17 he left home and went to Israel where he lived and worked on the Kibbutzim as a shephard, farmer and fisherman. Returning to New York, he studied, performed and directed theatre and in the late 1960's worked as an experimental filmmaker whose works were featured in cineprobes at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1969, he received a full scholarship to the graduate Film and Television Institute at New York University. In the 1970's Sadan produced many short films for the children's Seasame Street and NBC television.
While directing a documentary of Norway, Sadan met Leif Preus who invited him to prepare a one-man exhibition at the Preus Foto Museum. THe exhibit opened in May and June 1981. This was followed by a grant to produce an exhibit on Norway which opened at the World Trade Center in the summer of 1983. Approaching the age of 40, it was an exciting decision for Sadan to commit himself to photography, in which he had almost no formal training.
His first New York City exhibit was at the Rizzoli Gallery, and for two years in the mid-80's he was an exhibiting member of the Soho Photo Gallery.
Recently a portfolio of Sadan's work was purchased for the corporate art collection of NYNEX. Recent exhibits have been shown at the Caskill Center for Photography, the University of Papua New Guinea, and the Neikung Photographica Gallery in New York City. In the past decade Sadan has exhibited extensively throughout North America, Eastern Europe, Scandanavia and Great Britain.
From Tristan's Gallery
Mark Sadan was born in Syracuse, New York. Mark studied as a Filmmaker with works featured at the Museum of Modern Art. He received a scholarship to study at the Film and Television Institute at New York University in the 70's where he produced short films for television. After directing a documentary in Norway Mark was invited to exhibit at the Preus Foto Museum, this led to a further exhibition at the World Trade Centre in 1983. Mark has given workshops extensively in the U.S. and exhibits internationally in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, North America and the U. K. He has featured in a solo exhibition at the Julia Margaret Cameron Museum on the Isle of Wight. He has just completed a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Dance in the USA and will be having a large retrospective at the National Photo Art Museum in Norway in 2002.
"My photographs are dedicated to whomever I might share these images of life and art which has inspired me. They are my gift, my message to you."
From Bahai' Library
Mark Sadan photographer, filmaker, U.S.A.
Mark Sadan with Natasha and David Matlow, Montana, 1999. Photo: Steve Matlow.
Raised in Arizona U.S.A. in the fifties, Mark Sadan moved to Israel at the age of 17 in an attempt to reconnect with his Jewish heritage. His article "God's Holy Mountain," printed in Herald of the South in 1992, discusses this. While travelling through the Netherlands a Charlie Chaplin film festival inspired him so much that on his return to the U.S., he informed his family that he wanted to study acting. In his first year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts he worked as a movie usher to support himself and then won an academic scholarship for his second year. At that time he also wrote three one act poetry-plays which were among the first performed at the Cafe La Mama (an avant garde theatre space), The plays received favourable reviews in the Village Voice.
On completion of his theatre studies he returned to Israel where he became a member of the Haifa Repetory theatre and also directed several plays for a semi-professional kibbutz theatre. After a visit to the Shrine of the Bab and a conversation with a man he thought was a gardener, but turned out to have been Mr. Faizi. He decided to investigate the Bahá´í Faith by hitchiking through Turkey to Iran. He stayed with Bahá´ís in Tehran for three months and worked as an English Teacher. He returned to New York where several months later he formally joined the Bahá´í Faith.
It was during that same period of time he decided to make a committment to following his love of film and began to work as an independent experimental film-maker.
After a period of struggle and learning and even considering giving up on film when he met a 9 month pregnant young Englishwoman and ended up making a three minute film of her observing herself in a mirror and falling asleep in a rocking chair. The film "Rosebud" won first prize at the Rhode Island School of Design's experimental film festival. With the several hundred dollars prize money and a sense of encouragment he went on to make more experimental independent films such as 'Laughing Bear' and had his work featured at the New York Film Festival and received two 'Cineprobe' screenings of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Harvest Time on the Isle of Wight, photograph by
Mark Sadan, U.S.A.
Armeephelan dancer in bronze
(between sculpture by Henry Moore)
Photograph by Mark Sadan,1999.
During this same period of time he became the director of the New York City Photo-Film unit teaching high school drop outs media skills as part of the national war on poverty of that time. At the age of 28 he recieved a two year fellowship to the New York University Graduate Film and Television Institute. During his last semeser at NYU he began to produce films for Sesame Street and continued for two years to direct many of their early movies. He then produced short films for NBC televisions children's programming includiing 8 music videos the popular music group of that time, 'Seals and Crofts'.
It was while a student at New York University his photography teacher Paul Caponegro said to the class, "I understand there is a Bahá´í in this class...this means Light, and as photographer anything that has to do with light interests me"
During the 70's and early 80's Sadan was active in making educational, documentary films, continuing with his independent experimental work and also producting and directiing eight films for the Bahá´ís in the USA and the Bahá´í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. He was invited to come along as the producer / director of the "The Green Light Expedition", filming Ruhiyyih Khanum as she travelled by boat through the tributaries of the Amazon River and also visiting the high mountain ranges of Peru and Bolivia. They filmed 36 tribal groups over a period of six months in 1975-76. As he approached the age of 40 Sadan decided to concentrate on photography as a way to express his passion and vision.
The Monument Gardens, Bahá´í World Centre, Mount Carmel,
Photograph by Mark Sadan, U.S.A. From the book and postcard series, Tablet of Carmel, published by Nightingale Books, 27 Rutland Gate, London, SW7 IPD, U.K. 1992.
Photograph by Mark Sadan, U.S.A. from "Meditations on the Blessed Beauty", a book of short texts accompanied with photographs by Mark Sadan taken in Iceland, published by the UK. Bahai Publishing Trust, 1992
In 1992 Gordon Kerr of Nightingale Books, ( U.K. Bahá´í Publishing Trust) produced three photo-books featuring his photographs for the centenary of Baha'u'llah's passing; "Meditations of the Blessed Beauty" and "Tablet of Carmel and the Most Holy Tablet". For the first book he travelled around Iceland and Norway, using the stunning scenery to accompany the selections of Baha'u'llah's meditations. The other two books featured photographs in soft sepia tones taken at the international Bahá´í centre on Mount Carmel, in Haifa and at Baha'u'llah's final resting place in Bahji
2003: Mark Sadan's photographic work has been featured in leading international photo magazines such as "La Photographica" (Spain), "Zoom" (Italy), "Iris", (Brazil), "Nippon" and Asahi" (Japan), "Scwarz/Weis", (Germany), "Foto-Forum", (Norway). His work is also found in private and museum collections. His dance photography was shown at the National Museum of Dance, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., U.S.A.
from UMASS MAG online
For the Love of Dance
—Hannah L. Drake ’06
Photographer Mark Sadan ’74G
ONE MUST DO THE WORK, learn the craft, and be ready when you’re given the ‘gift,’ the vision, the art,” says Mark Sadan ’74G. Sadan has been many things in his career: actor, movie director, videographer. But his gift is an eye for light and movement, and he’s turned it into a distinguished career as a dance photographer. “Photography is not just about duplicating reality, it’s about finding the meaning or the mystery in the image, and letting the image lead you,” says Sadan.
Sadan’s work has been featured in photography magazines and museums around the world, such as La Photographica from Spain, Italy’s Zoom, and the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York. He spent the first part of his artistic career directing, but had a turning point when he was invited to photograph sculptures in Norway. This eventually led to dance photography. Sadan owns and operates a Web site, Dancerzine, designed to showcase his work with dancers.
Sadan says he is drawn to dance’s inherent beauty. “It makes the world more meaningful to be able to adorn it with beauty. The world can have such horror; beauty means a lot.” But Sadan’s gift may also have stemmed from his own dance experience. At age 8 he was pigeon-toed.
Doctors recommended that he take dance, so he later found himself sneaking into an all-girls tap class. He was clumsy, but he enjoyed the experience. His only regret is that he didn’t keep dancing, even though he has been told he does with his camera.
“It stayed in my heart,” says Sadan. “I loved that dance class; loved those girls.”
To view Mark Sadan’s dance photography, visit