At first glance, the work of Pascal Baetens might appear simple. His compositions are often little more than a naked girl in a deserted factory. Yet his images reverberate in the mind far longer than you would expect from so apparently simple a picture.
Someone once showed a dress that he had bought for a few francs in a flea market to the legendary dress designer Coco Chanel, remarking that it looked exactly like one of her fantastically expensive creations. She looked at it for a fraction of a second before saying: “Yes, it does look like one of my dresses. But then again, it doesn’t.” By the same token, to the uninitiated audience Pascal Baetens photography may look simple, but there is much, much more to it than meets the cursory eye.
Baetens’ power is indirect. In contrast to pornography, which provides an instant gratification to the senses, his images work on the principle of the slow burn, leaving a longer lasting effect on the viewer’s imagination. A Baetens picture will be quietly linger in the memory, dormant for longer periods, before some unexpected stimulus will cause it to jump to the forefront of the mind with a startling clarity. His photos are a testament to the eternal, often subconscious, power that the erotic exerts over our imagination
chief editor Penthouse the Netherlands