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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. n 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