Peter Baker is a photographer and designer, born and raised in Blissfield, a small farm town in southeastern Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Photography and a BA in Graphic Design, he began working as a designer and art director, first in Chicago, then San Francisco, where he started his own studio and began working on several long term projects. Recently relocated back to Michigan, he is doing what little he can to help it recover its former glory.
Seeking Magazine: How were your beginings in photography?
Peter Baker: Design was first. I actually used to dislike photography. I’d go to all these interesting places and see people futzing with their cameras and gathering up for group shots and just think they were wasting the experience of being there. It wasn’t until college that I started taking photography seriously as something to create with.
SM: Tell us something about ‘Elevated Works’. Wich is the phylosophy behind this study?
PB: Elevated Works is my graphic design studio, the other half of what I do.
SM: What interests you to show in your photographs?
PB: I’m drawn to contradictions and juxtapositions. Things that don’t feel right, feel out of place, or are overlooked.
SM: We love your ‘Yes, Michigan’ project. Wich is the actual situation of Detroit and its sourroundings?
PB: It’s nothing new that Michigan and Detroit are struggling, but there’s a silver lining around everything. People are figuring out new avenues for making livings and expressing themselves, and a general rethinking of priorities and what it means to be successful can only help.
SM: In ‘Go West’ you show us diferent US West Coast city locations. Wich are the social and economic differences you notice compared to other states?
PB: The coasts will always be enough of a draw to bring people out there and contribute, but there will always be areas of any state that are similarly depressed. California is touted as one of the richest economies in the world, and yet the state government is constantly on the brink of bankruptcy. It’s one of the best examples of the dichotomy of riches our country has generated; areas around San Francisco and Los Angeles are simultaneously some of the richest and poorest areas in America.
SM: ‘Iceland’ features your personal vision of this beautiful island. How was your experience there? What impressions did you had from this country?
PB: It was just amazing. I’ve never seen a more compact variety of nearly every ecosystem on the planet, all in one place. I have to go back.
SM: How do you feel the actual situation of photography?
PB: Big question there. I like it.
SM: A place you would like to visit and photograph?
PB: North Korea.
SM: Your projects and ideas for the future…
PB: I should be completing a project about the rise and collapse of Las Vegas, a continuing project about the prairie land being created around Detroit, and hopefully a few other new projects.
Copyright © Peter Baker, All rights reserved. This photographs are not to be used as free stock.