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Allegro Sensibile: Book Review

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

Keywords: nude

"I tend to work with natural light, where I can completely concentrate on the model. My main focus is to create an atmosphere in the image. Technique is, though important, only a means to get an image. I can of course work with studio equipment, with reflectors and a broad staff, but for this collection of mostly non-professional models, I achieve the best photo intimacy by working with only the three of us: photographer, model and camera."

allegro sensibile - front cover

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.

"At the border of a road in Dresden overlooking the city"
F801 with Nikkor AF 80-200/2.8 D ED


A composer uses the word "Allegro" to indicate that his music shall be played at a brisk, lively tempo. The composer Baetens adds a new dimension to the word: Sensible. Sensual black & white act photos using natural light only: lively and sensible.


It's Not All in The Equipment

When Pascal’s not using his Nikon F801’s, he holds workshops and exhibitions; and interviews world-renowned photographers, such as Peter Lindbergh, Jeff Dunas, and David Hamilton for various European magazines. Pascal is also a member of Nikonians Masters Society, the jury selecting the winning annual photography contest winner of the grand prize, worth over 10,000 USD in Nikon equipment.

Talking about equipment... Granted, many of us here in the Nikonians community are equipment crazy and it’s refreshing to see a pro like Pascal concentrating on what he sees, composing photographs and not getting all worked up over frames per second and bits per CPU. That he leaves to the rest of us while he’s capturing those special moments where you can sense the mutual, silent understanding between model and photographer, resulting in very special images.

"This photo was taken in a sandpit with a bit of high key effect at the printing table"
F801 with Nikkor AF 35-70/2.8

Classic Nikon AF Equipment

Pascal doesn’t use any "fashion type" of emulsion, but rather goes for the tried Kodak T-Max, which he keeps at ISO 100. His field-battered F801’s (one F801 and one F801s) and some of the classic AF Nikkors, such as the 35-70/2.8 and the two-ring 80-200/2.8 are his main tools. A recently-bought F4 is still not being used much and a ditched Nikkor AF 24mm has been replaced by the 20mm, though he still prefers the old 24mm for his type of work.

"Taken in the Roman amphitheatre of Arles, France, during mid-tourist season. I had to wait to avoid tourists on the picture; and to avoid maybe disturbing people."
F801 with Nikkor AF 35-70/2.8


Congratulations from all of us at Nikonians on this second, most enjoyable project of yours Pascal :-) We know that we will hear much more from you in the coming years and hope that we will get the chance to cover more of your excellent work right here.

The introduction to Allegro Sensibile was written by the American photographer Jeff Dunas. If you’re curious about Jeff’s extensive and excellent work, check out his site at www.dunas.com.

We also want to thank Pascal’s publisher, Kunstverlag Weingarten in Germany, for providing us with the pictures. The text in the book is in both English and German.

All pictures on this site are Copyright © by their owner and may not be reproduced.


Allegro Sensibile is now available for the first time in English as "The Art of Nude Photography", in a beautiful oversized volume presenting over 160 duotone images of the sensuous and sublime female art images by Pascal Baetens and can now be purchased at Amazon.com.

His third book "Heavenly Girls" is now also available at Amazon.com.

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Originally written on May 30, 2010

Last updated on June 6, 2014

Bo Stahlbrandt Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

Bratislava, Slovakia
Admin, 8425 posts