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Philippe Pache was born in 1961 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was educated at the School of Applied Arts of Vevey. Since 1982 he has held solo and group exhibits in galleries and museums all over the world, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris and the Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

For centuries soft shadows in painting expressed mood, emotion and intimacy at least as much as color can. Da Vinci used chiaroscuro to convey the ambiguity of human expression; Caravaggio to highlight the drama and tumult of life; Vermeer to hint at blooming youth and the inner world of thoughts and emotions; La Tour to suggest simple faith and pensiveness.

The Swiss photographer Philippe Pache (http://www.philippepache.com/) relies upon this time-tested technique in painting to bring life, drama and, above all, reverie and contemplation to artistic photography. His nudes exude beauty and tranquility. They are exquisitely posed yet look completely natural. The focus of his images is on how each gesture and expression—the body itself—reveals a rich inner world of thoughts and feelings. The interplay of light and shadow not only highlights the depth of human subjectivity, but also marks the fluid boundaries between humanity and nature. Some of his portraits, though always beautiful, are facial landscapes of light, contour and shadow.

They gleam with the insentience of the mountains, sea and land that sometimes surround them; they become one, interchangeable with their magnificent natural settings. The beauty of femininity captured by Pache goes beyond realistic visual representation. It is the landscape of haunting and delicate dreams. Sometimes, as in the photograph called Cecilia, below, there’s no clear distinction between dreamer and dream. The beautiful young woman, bathed in fiery reds, sleeps peacefully as she, herself, is depicted as a figment of our imaginations, as a dream. Recognizably beautiful yet also indistinct, she floats above the dark shadows and red sheets that envelop her like a vapor.

Dreams are often vague and fragmentary. When we wake up, we rarely remember the whole “picture”: just those frames that broke through the veil of sleep and rose to the surface of our consciousness. Since we often dream about our deepest fears or most poignant desires, the fragmentary, partial nature of our dreams is perhaps nature’s way to protect us from ourselves: from what we either pursue or try to escape most in life.  In Joined Hands, the photograph below, Pache once again captures both dreamer and dream. This image reveals an angelic young woman dressed in white, with her hands joined in quiet resignation or  fervid prayer: we’ll never know which, since in Pache’s postromantic reveries, the dreamer remains as partial and mysterious as her dreams.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

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