Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chester College Alum Shows Photographs on Campus

Traveling Asia, a collection of color photographs by Chester College of New England alum Scott Baker, will be on display in the Wadleigh Gallery on the Chester College campus through October 22. SO Good staffer Heather Doherty spoke to him before the opening on October 2.

Heather Doherty: How long have you been working on this series?

Scott Baker: I have been working on this series for three years. I mainly worked in Korea. After the first six months of shooting I started contacting galleries. At this point I have seven shows lined up until August 2010. Most of the galleries I contacted had a one to two year waiting period.

HD: What do you want people to take away from your show?

SB: I have been trying to photograph Korea and my other travels in hopes to express how different cultures are. I wanted to show how they live. I wanted to show different things from across the world that most people wouldn’t have a chance to see.

HD: Where did you get the idea for the title of the show?

SB: The past three years I just saved and traveled. I didn’t go to too many places in Southeast Asia so I just named it Asia. I am not one to title my work. I am pretty straight forward.

HD: Where did you do the majority of your shooting?

SB: I did all my shooting in Asia: South Korea, Beijing, China, Thailand, Siem Reap, Cambodia and Angkor, Cambodia.

HD: Why did you choose the format of your prints you chose?

SB: Honestly it is what I can afford at this point. I look at my work as both art and business. I didn’t want to get a credit card and rack up a huge bill. I just saved up and did what I could do.

HD: What made you go into photojournalism?

SB: In high school we watched a documentary on W. Eugene Smith and after that I knew what I wanted to do.

HD: Were there any classes at Chester that pushed you in this direction of work?

My photojournalism and documentary photography classes I took my senior year. Those were the two classes I left with, and what got me into travel and sports.

HD: Who or what influences your work?

SB: The different people I have met over the years. Jaylee, a farmer I met in Korea; he really showed me a lot about farming, and introduced me to Korean culture. What I learned at Chester prepared me for situations and how to be artist/photographer.

HD: What medium do you prefer to work in?

SB: The past six months I have been working with a Mamma Mia 645, medium format and film camera. I like it because it is the type of camera you have to look down to get the natural setting.

Digital is good because it is quick and easy to look at in the field. Film on the other hand you have to develop. At this point I have tons of rolls that still need to be developed from the past six months.

I like going back and forth between digital and black and white film.

HD: How do you pick your subjects of work?

SB: I try to find interesting stories. Jaylee’s (my farmer friend) neighbor was a sweet potato farmer. I was able to learn a lot about the subject, which is what I want my photography to show. I get my ideas from the internet and television. For instance, I was watching a show on Discovery about villages in Thailand. From that show I decided I would do anything necessary to get there and meet those people. I also get ideas from the people I meet.

HD: How do you pick the pictures to print?

SB: Whenever I take a picture I instantly know which one I am going to print. It is like an adrenaline rush when I take those pictures.

HD: Is there anything in particular you like to photograph?

I photograph sports on the weekend for fun and for the money. I’m not into studio stuff. I think you should learn studio work but it’s not what I want to do.

HD: What are you working on right now?

SB: I am currently working on advertising my work. I want to make a name for myself. I am also looking into grad school focusing on art management/gallery management.

HD: Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?

SB: Do not limit yourself on projects you want to do. Try to think of a crazy story and how to do it.

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