#933. It were Pascal – ‘e done it.

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Nov 26

At DearSusan most of the behind the scenes work falls to one person. The DS site layout, galleries, mediation, many of the Challenges and of course, the upkeep in hard earned Euros.

It were Pascal – ‘e done it.

The past tense there is purely vernacular, BTW. I’m happy to report that our man is alive, well and continues to be full of good humour and ideas to keep our readers entertained and involved.

When I first encountered Pascal, he and Philippe were running DearSusan (DS) between them. Pascal was not bothering over much with photographic best practice, following a disk crash and the loss of many un-backed-up photographs. He seemed to be in something of a dwaal (Afrikaans for a kind of deep, uncontrolled funk), using his camera as much as a way of passing the time in a pleasant and interesting way, than for taking photographs.

Early days – shooting with Pascal and Philippe in Paris. Pascal gives me the evil eye…

The DS I signed up for saw me bring my own brand of not very much, but it was a supporting role. Needed as much then as now. Occasionally, I would hear Pascal bemoan his move from medium format, the then incumbent Sony’s inability to do very much that pleased him and despite its excellent price/performance, a Windows laptop that likewise delivered much less than happiness.

I sensed that there was a danger of him chucking it all in on more than one occasion. Thankfully, I was wrong.

In the intervening several years, DS has matured, grown and continues to move closer to the original rationale of being a resource for travelling photographers of any and every stripe.

Driving that along? Pascal of course.

The first change was a MacBook Pro with its sublime Retina display and halfway useless keyboard. Pascal seems to love that machine, despite its obvious handicap. If I recall correctly, Lightroom gave way to Capture One and then one day, the bargain of the century; a used Hasselblad X-1D accompanied by a pantechnicon loaded with that company’s world class glass, all for what seemed like little more than a handful of his childrens’ long-discarded Smurfs.

You don’t have to be a photographic maven to see the change. Pascal’s work was was suddenly (and remains) full of glowing, beautifully framed, fine black and white or impressively coloured and enviable images. His recently published shot of the interior of Ely Cathedral had my envy-o-meter wound up way past ten.


April 2016. Several of us Susans are in Paris for a photo get together, to which Pascal brings two lenses I had not seen or used before. One was a Leica R mount 90mm Summicron, the other a Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Distagon.

I got one frame with the Leica on my NEX-7 and returned it pronto in case I wanted one. Old they may be, but fine images are their forte.

Take it away! The sublime Leica R 90 Summicron

The Distagon got a longer airing and didn’t tweak my interest much beyond its price. I shot a few frames and recognised its quality imaging potential and quickly returned it, too.

And so it stayed until recently, when Pascal posted some photographs taken with the Distagon on his X-1D, that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I wanted one, despite owning both a 35 Summicron and Fuji’s own 35 f1.4.

Now, semi-domiciled in London, I decided to wander the photo shops and see if I could find a Distagon second hand. I didn’t want it badly enough to pay full price, or spend time on eBay. And, of course Sod’s Law kicked-in; I found one almost immediately.

It wasn’t used, but an ex-demo version, discounted by around £300, to which I added further value by bullying the retailer into adding a £70-value Zeiss UV filter to further sweeten the deal. I already own a Fuji-made M to X mount converter and the rest was just down to time on the job.

On the day I found the Distagon, I also bought this.

Much as I wanted to blame Pascal, this wasn’t his fault

Much as I’d like to blame him, this wasn’t Pascal’s fault.

Enough of me. Back to the matter in hand.

DS actively courts contributions from almost any- and everyone. Each tends to address a specific trip, experience, or idea and these contributions keep DS fresh and very much the resource we sought to establish when we started out.

In the midst of those posts, you’ll find Pascal publishing reasoned, well executed and incisive posts, often intended to inform and more importantly, teach. He regularly surprises me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge; as an engineer, the arts were largely eschewed in my training and I am now able to read about ideas, techniques and concepts that have resolutely escaped me for more than six decades. And anyway, who else would put a link to a Beth Hart video in the middle of a treatise on square format images?

We’re very lucky to have him.

Pascal au naturel
  • pascaljappy says:

    Oh wow … Paul. You made me blush long distance and I’m not sure what to say beyond, thank you.

    Thank you for the kind words. Thank you for the wonderful photographs. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for your support when it was needed. Thank you for introducing me to wonderful people such as Steve and Nancee.

    This was unexpected, so I come unprepared with no speech. I’ll just say it’s a lot of work but a genuine priviledge to see DS has become meeting point for such fun and talented individuals. I’ll do all I can, with the main help of Paul and Philippe, but also from more and more others, to continue towards that goal 😉

    Thanks to all 🙂

  • Steve says:


    Great piece. Like you I’ve regularly been amazed by Pascal’s knowledge and insight on such a range of topics. I’ve learned a whole load about “art” and seeing, especially seeing. I see stuff in other folks’ images that would have passed me by a year or two ago and I often spend ages looking at an image in detail, quite at odds with the prevailing culture of swipe and move on. In truth I’ve had an education, an education that I hope will continue for as long as I can muster the grey matter. Cheers Pascal!

  • Paul, I couldn’t agree more with your words, our Pascal is a gem. Having shot with him on 2 occasions he is great company when he and Philippe stop bagging each other. Well, Pascal keep up the great work its appreciated very much by the readership of DS.

  • John W says:

    I hear there’s a move afoot to make PJ a National Treasure. If there isn’t, there bloody well should be.
    He’d get my vote.

  • pascaljappy says:

    ‘kay. Cut it out, guys. Let’s talk photo. I’m hiding under my sofa here !!!

  • Pascal O. says:

    Paul, thank you for a long overdue post ! At long last !
    While we more or less contribute, nothing would be possible if DS was not nurtured, supported, organized by Pascal who also paves the way with his spectacular photography. Thanks again.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Even though I’ve yet to meet Pascal in person, he has been wonderfully welcoming and supportive both artistically and personally – something I very much appreciate in the very competitive world of photography. DS has come at exactly the right time for me, just when I needed a big push to keep on creating. I can’t imagine how many countless hours that Pascal has put into perfecting DS, but I’m truly thankful for all his hard work and all his well-written posts. Thank you, Pascal!

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I fully intended to compliment Paul on the post, but then it seems that I went in another direction! Paul, I second that emotion, as the song says. You have nicely summed up Pascal’s contributions to the world of DS, and I’m eternally thankful to you for pushing me to contribute and get involved.

  • Luis Arroyo says:

    I subscribed to DS about six months ago and have truly enjoyed seeing the many great photos and reading about travels to so many places that I know only as places on a map. Thank you Pascal for all you do to maintain DS.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Keep posting, all of you… I am curious to see how long Pascal can stay under his sofa, knowing the man 😀
    I spent a few days with him and his family – wonderful wife and daughter too, by the way – this Summer and all I can say is: such great people that I am eager to welcome them in my Canadian mountains, me the wild cat 😀
    DS is, to me at least, way more than a “photo blog”… it is a human adventure, before anything else… precious and rare. No wonder it attracted such a bunch of nice people…

  • Sean says:

    A teerrifficccc complementary article Paul, for sure. The first image sells it for me; that instructive finger being professionally and politely ignored by another’s point-of-view and viewpoint, possibly. Staying with the first image, I thought the Hasselblad (The spellchecker wants to change the word to ‘assemblage’- Groan!) was physically bigger. Not so, in reality, by the looks of it. In sum, Pascal, your well earned accolades are richly deserved, even if you’ve taken some temporary respite, from all of this, under some piece of furniture.

  • philberphoto says:

    Ah, Pascal! Ah Paul! Congratulating one for his congratulating the other…. Pascal, you remind me of a line in one of my cult movies: Chariots of fire (shows what an old geezer I am). The lead, Harold Abrahams, who will sprint his way to an Olympic gold, says: I do not run with the effortless grace of the Gods… well, Pascal, you do…. you run DS, your life, your family, your photography with this effortless grace, and I move you be awarded a Gold Medal “pour l’ensemble de ton oeuvre”… and making you squirm in discomfort behind the sofa is one of the minor gourmet pleasures of my existance.

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