Allegro Sensibile

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“This is a big, beautiful book, full of imagery so breathtaking that one has to slow down to take it all in. Its dimensions are a burgeoning 13×10” and its 144 pages are packed full with exquisite duotones.

The women he’s used to create this body of work are not so much beautiful as they are interesting. This is not about glamour or fashion or even beauty – it is instead, an erudite study of form and light and symmetry, presented in a manner that is wholly and that of the artist. It is an electrifying achievement.”

Introduction

Allegro sensibile

When one is asked to contribute a preface or an introduction to a book, it is expected that one will discuss in great detail the work of the author. In this situation I would not know what to write, as I myself have photographed the nude for over twenty-five years and I have never been succinct at talking about the work – thank goodness I am capable of expressing myself with the camera instead of the pen!

Pascal Baetens is a good guy – affable, engaging and sincere. He’s very interested in photography and has a good grasp on the history of the art/craft as well. I find in most young photographers a lack of interest in learning about what came before them but in Baetens’ case he has done his homework. He writes on the subject, he reports for various magazines and is both knowledgeable and personable, two essential qualities for a good photographer. He organizes photo festivals and exhibits for other photographers as well as for himself. He participates in photography.

As I do, I believe Pascal Baetens lives and breathes photography. It is essential for his life – his oxygen. This is the first qualification for greatness if greatness is to be achieved. One must be possessed – obsessed – driven – willing to spend all of one’s waking hours in its pursuit – and be perhaps slightly mad. While I’m not sure of the latter in his case, I am sure of it in myself! This may be a prescription for artists in all disciplines.

 I’ve met and become acquainted with many photographers – hundreds in fact, and I know it when I see it. Baetens is on the way. His work reveals energy, a discipline and a love for his subject. Of course his images are well composed and the lighting is beautiful but there is also that something else – that essential something that you either have or you don’t – something you can’t learn. That something is the ability to reach your subject – create one’s vision and have the complicity with the subject. I see this in Pascal Baetens’ work. He communicates with his subjects – controls the situation and has the ability to bring his communication with his subject into the image. This is an intangible!

I’ll be watching his work in the coming years. He stands a good chance of making his mark on photography.

Jeff Dunas
Los Angeles December 2001

Reviews

“This is a big, beautiful book, full of imagery so breathtaking that one has to slow down to take it all in. Its dimensions are a burgeoning 13×10” and its 144 pages are packed full with exquisite duotones. The forward is written by none other than the great Jeff Dunas, a master photographer who sees amazing things in store for the young Pascal Baetens. Perhaps not since Jeanloup Sieff was in his prime has a major photographer so astutely mastered the integration his nude subject with its immediate environment, whether it be a room in a house, nestled under a concrete bridge or even under the canopy of a great forest. Baetens’ talent is glaringly obvious. The women he’s used to create this body of work are not so much beautiful as they are interesting. This is not about glamour or fashion or even beauty – it is instead, an erudite study of form and light and symmetry, presented in a manner that is wholly and that of the artist. It is an electrifying achievement.” (Michelle7.com, USA)

“Coffee table books with photos of female nudes are nothing new. Not surprisingly when leafing through Pascal Baetens book The Art of Nude Photography you will come across a few photos that leave you feeling as though you’ve seen them before.

But a couple of things set this book apart. Unlike some books where all of the models seem like artificial Barbie dolls; the models in Baetens book, while very attractive, still look like real women. And where the subjects in most “art” books look as serious as if they’re attending a funeral, the subjects in Baetens work smile, dance, and engage you with a questioning eye. As is the norm with Amphoto books the reproduction quality of these black and white images is high. 

Whether you have an interest in shooting female nudes and are looking for inspiration or if you just appreciate the form The Art of Nude Photography is a book you should consider adding to your coffee table or book shelf.” (Vivid Light Photography, USA)

“Pascal Baetens, a Nikonian born in 1963 in Belgium, has just released his second book, Allegro Sensibile. His first book, The Fragile Touch, came out 1999 and immediately caught a lot of interest in Europe for its subtle images of sensual, lovely nudes in post-industrial factory interiors. No wonder we Nikonians were curious about his second book! Now, as Allegro Sensibile hits the shelves, we have had the chance to flip the 144 pages of one of the first copies. Pascal shares some of these excellent images, including background information, exclusively with us right here at Nikonians. The photos were mainly taken in the period 1999-2001 in Belgium, France, Germany, and Croatia. Locations were cities, forest, sandpits, fields, swimming pools, and some indoors.” (Nikonians)

Editorial details

Allegro Sensibile

German/English edition

  • Published by Weingarten Kunstverlag, 2002
  • Introduction by Jeff Dunas
  • ISBN 3 8170 2537 8
  • 25 x 33 cm, 144 pages
  • 160 duotones, hardcover  
  • Out of print
  • Only available on pascalbaetens.com


The Art of Nude Photography

US edition

  • Published by Amphoto Books
  • Introduction by Jeff Dunas
  • ISBN 0 8174 3315 5
  • 25 x 33 cm, 144 pages
  • 160 duotones, hardcover
  • First edition: September 2003
  • Second edition: Spring 2005