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NUDES > WORLD > WORLD > THE SALVE MATER SESSIONS


Salve Mater, the ancient psychiatric hospital for women, in Lovenjoel near Brussels, is waiting to be transformed into a luxury residential village. Meanwhile, the central building, former administrative center and monastery of the 'Sisters of Charity', has been transformed into Pascal Baetens' temporary studio. 

SInce 2003 Pascal has not only been realising commercial assignments and teaching photography workshops, but he has also  established a remarkable body of artistic sessions that draw upon the history and vibrations of the place; his 'Salve Mater' sessions. 

Below you can preview some of Pascal's Salve Mater sessions bringing to you both a textual reflection and a series of images, and in most cases, a short film resonating the atmosphere of the session. 

  
Yana by Pascal Baetens
Yana, a nicely extravert Argentinian model who I had shortly met at the Arles photo festival a good month before, arrived a couple of days before our meanwhile famous Salve Mater August workshop. I grabbed the occasion to do a more personal session with her. I definitely wanted to photograph her.   More
Joy by Pascal Baetens
I know Joy for many years now, but it has been a while since I had photographed her. Joy was somehow quieter than before, but still very enthusiastic. We went to a place under the Salve Mater trees, that reminds me of Southern France.  More
Sarah by Pascal Baetens
I don't have the idea I can add much here, apart from sharing the wonderful feeling that Sarah's images always turn out nicely. Although we rarely exchange in-depth conversations, she somehow expresses very well the atmosphere I am looking for.  More
Lily by Pascal Baetens
One day last summer I received a message from a model called Lily. She was coming to Belgium to work with some photographers and asked if I was interested in booking her too. I understood she had to be one of free lance these models traveling around the globe.  More
Florence by Pascal Baetens
The inner garden of my monastery was covered with white tussocks, fallen from the trees. It looked like snow and it seemed a nice idea to do some images there. Of course Flo wanted to try it!  More
Misteeq by Pascal Baetens
The girl in the pictures comes back to Salve Mater. The building where she had been “emprisoned”, is empty, abandoned, destroyed. She relives the dark moments, the shame, the pain, the despair.  More
Marleen by Pascal Baetens
For me, this is a session about an insecure young woman searching to find confirmation and acceptation, and self esteem. She is wandering through the building, confronting herself with the parts she doesn’t like about herself, hoping to discover she is gorgeous.  More
Centa by Pascal Baetens
Centa reminded me of Sandra Bullock, the American actress with the twinkling eyes, and I hoped that she would be as expressive. More
Annelies by Pascal Baetens, Salve Mater
One day, I received an email from Annelies, introducing herself as a dancer and a model willing to pose for me. A colleague photographer had shown one of my books to her (thank you!) which she apparently quite liked. More
Amitola by Pascal Baetens, Salve Mater
She was a bit nervous at the beginning, so I asked her to lay on a bench and to close her eyes. After a few minutes, she started to gain confidence. The 'clic' came soon, when she started to relax. She stopped 'posing'  and started playing with the camera. More
Mariposa by Pascal Baetens, Salve Mater 2005
Mariposa has a great body, fine, curved, souple. She is a belly dancer. We did one session, on different places at Salve Mater. We worked in the great area where sensuality and eroticism meet. More
Lilli by Pascal Baetens, Salve Mater 2005
 A model feels this kind of intentions right away. She told me she couldn’t continue like that, which would be a pity for the other participants. I went to the guy and asked kindly to see his pictures. More
Kim by Pascal Baetens
Kim was more actress than model, and that day she came to pose, we were more exchanging ideas about acting, music, mental states and institutions than actually taking images More


From the first moment I met Lara, a while ago now, I was struck by her angelic appearance.  Every session with her has turned out to give me images I could hardly get with other girls. More

Laure-Anne is one of those models that can carry a session. You tell her the idea you have in mind and she makes it happen. She is an excellent model and would for sure be a lovely actress. More 

In most sessions, the model is playing a role, as an actor for a movie. The photographer or his client decides about the scenario and the model executes it, by taking poses, expressing emotions, and showing what needs to be shown. More

From early December till mid-January, the winter sun stays very low in the Flanders sky which gives beautifully long shadows. As the façade of the Salve Mater points directly to the south, the light in the rooms and the corridor at noon is gorgeous. More
  A lot of the Asian women I have met, chose a Western name. Sometimes the phonetics are close to their original names, but in the case of Joy, I didn’t have to look for an explanation. Five minutes with her and the darkest cloud changes into a bright sunshine.  More
Yothi by Pascal Baetens I was expecting a shining, joyful girl, but instead, Yothi had melancholy in her heart and in eyes. As so often, I decided not to use any make-up on my model, to show her beauty, freshness and to emphasize her fragility and youth.  More
Maite by Pascal Baetens A few months after our brief encounter, she came to Salve Mater for a quick visit. As she is sportive and expressive, we decided to work on movement and on the psychiatric past of the building. More
Valeria by Pascal Baetens I had conceived the idea of realising a collection of filmic sessions, telling the story of a young woman returning to the place where she had been hospitalised for the simple reason of being lesbian. Valeria posed for me during three days. I adored working with her. More
Lara by Pascal Baetens Early May. Colour bursts out from everywhere. Nature is in full bloom, full of beauty and promise. Lara is a reflection of Spring: she is young, beautiful and intelligent. I have met her by pure coincidence while I was shopping in town... More
Sindy by Pascal Baetens
It was winter when Sindy came to pose for me. I had met her through a photographic website. Even though her images were very fashion oriented and glamorous, they intrigued me. I don’t know why but from the moment I met her... More
Aya by Pascal Baetens
I love working with classic dancers, because of their natural grace and their ability to express emotions with a simple gesture. Aya is such person. The way she turned her head, the position of her arms and hands, every change of position is... More
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