Baetens, Pascal

Pascal Baetens, Kessel-Lo, Belgium

After a traditional education, Pascal Baetens (Leuven, Belgium 1963) chose to develop his creative side and became a photographer. Over his career, he has realised portraits, fashion, nudes as well as travel assignments for editorial, commercial and private clients, including Elle, FHM, Maxim, Men’s Health, Seabourn. His collections of subtle and sensious nudes have been published in several art books 'The Fragile Touch', 'Allegro Sensibile' ('The Art of Nude Photography' USA-edition), 'Heavenly Girls' ('Heavenly Beauties' USA-edition), 'A Pocketful of Nudes', and the how-to-book 'Nude Photography, the Art and the Craft'. His work has also been published in numerous magazines and exhibited throughout Europe, North America and Asia.
Pascal has interviewed famous colleague photographers such as Avedon, Bitesnich, Dunas, Lindbergh, Maroon and Witkin and has curated various exhibitions. His work has been featured in various notable books on modern photography. In 2008, Pascal received the title of Master Qualified European Photographer, the highest recognition given by the Federation of European Professional Photographers (FEP). Recently, his latest book “A Pocketful of Nudes” was awarded the FEP Photo book of the year award (category “nudes”). Pascal Baetens has an extensive program of lectures and workshops on different aspects of nude photography.He lives and works at Salve Mater, a former hospital/monastery in Lovenjoel, Belgium.

When you stand naked in front of a stranger's camera, you put yourself in a vulnerable position. Laying yourself bare like this quite often triggers intense emotions of long repressed often traumatic experiences. I ask the young women in my pictures -I dislike the word "models"- to reveal how they feel in front of my camera. I invite them to show a hidden part of themselves, to go beyond the happy façade or the fake sexual availability you often find in "babe photography".  From my first sessions in the early 90s on, several girls have shared touching stories with me, and I promised myself to use their stories later on in a project which goes beyond the individual well-being of the people involved. I didn't write about pain, disrespect nor handicap in my early books, keeping the girls with a story beautiful between the happy ones. But the titles 'The fragile touch' and 'Allegro sensibile' and an often introvert image choice subtly indicate a second layer. Klara was the first girl to write about her story, 'Instant de mort', a moment of death. Our project was published in 2007, and the reactions were enormous. Sharing her story was not only a major step for Klara, but apparently gave courage to many others victims of abuse. During lectures all over Europe, people were struck with silence, when they first saw her images. Women as well as men often expressed their appreciation in very fragile words. They also encouraged me to continue doing this kind of work. That is why I decided to dedicate a significant part of my time to sessions with a "human value", and called it my "Stories" project. Does this mean that you won't find sensual, erotic images in my work? No. You'll find such images, but they won't be -I hope- fake, as the eroticism will come from the models themselves.  You'll find a wide variety of settings, of atmospheres, of expressions. You will read some stories, often bright and happy, and funny, sometimes quiet and painful. Just as life is.

Pascal Baetens, September 2010.

Salve Mater

"I photographed Elvire in the meadow in front of "my" nut houseThe photograph is part of the "Salve Mater" series, sensual fantasies, photographed in the abandoned psychiatric hospital for women 'Salve Mater'. The basis are stories of some patients, hospitalised in the first half of the 20th century, because of hysteria (in fact it was because of their sexual preference: they were lesbian). The pictures sketch a fictious story of a young woman returning to the hospital and re-living her emotions of desire, hope but also pain, grief, anger and humiliation." Pascal Baetens 2006-03

Life is so beautiful

“Life is so beautiful when you follow your dreams."


2010 Nu Artístico - Fotografía a Arte e o Talento, Editora Altabooks, Brazil, 256 p.
Fotografía de desnudo, il arte y la técnica, Akal, Spain, 256 p.
Nude Photography, the Art and the Craft, Korean edition, DK, China, 256 p.
2009 Nude Photography, the Art and the Craft, Chinese edition, DK, China, 256 p.
2008 A Pocketful of Nudes, Images Publishing, Australia, 256 p.
Aktfotografie, Kunst und Praxis, DK-Germany, Germany, 256 p.
Aktfotografering, kunsten og handverket, Cappelen-Damm, Norway, 256 p.
2007 Instant de mort, Chez Higgins, France, limited edition portfolio with 15 original prints
Nude Photography, the Art and the Craft, DK, UK, 256 p.
2005 Heavenly Beauties, Amphoto Books, USA, 192 p.
2004 Heavenly Girls, Edition Skylight, Switzerland, 192 p
2003 The Art of Nude Photography, Amphoto Books, USA, 144 p
2002 Allegro Sensibile, Amphoto Books, USA, 144 p
2001 Pascal Baetens, Galerie Pascal Polar, Belgium, 16 p    
1999 The Fragile Touch, Foto-Art, Brugge, Belgium / The Erotic Print Society, London, UK, 144 p