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James Baker collection

Identifier: AG 274

Content Description

The James Baker Collection is composed of multiple formats pertaining to The 1951 Aspen Photography Conference, Photography: Selected Images Exhibitionof 1979, and The Political Landscape Conference of 1989 as well as a collection of recordings, including those during his tenure at a radio station between 1995-2006.

The correspondence, represented in Series 1, is from both The 1951 Aspen Photography Conference and The Political Landscape Conference between James Baker and a variety of other photographers.

Series 2 comprises the bulk of the collection and are activities that are associated with render="italic">The 1951 Aspen Photography Conference, The Political Landscape Conference, and Photography: Selected Images Exhibition. Activities for the conferences included in this series are documents, soundtracks in audiocassette formats, video in VHS formats as well as two minidisks. Activities for the Photography: Selected Images Exhibition consist of biographical and image wall plaques, contact prints and video in Umatic formats with a DVD copy.

Series 3 consists of negatives, slides and photographs. The negatives and slides are from The Political Landscape Conference The photographs are from both The 1951 Aspen Photography Conference and The Political Landscape Conference.

Audiovisual materials make up Series 4. These are collected recorded soundtracks in audiocassette format as well as video in Umatic format. They range in date and are from the Allen Street Gallery Talks, Frederick Sommer Anderson Ranch Workshops, his time at KAJX with his radio program "All About the Arts", and other collected interviews by other photographers. The Umatic video is a gallery talk with photographer Aaron Siskand.


  • 1951, 1979, 1988-1991, 1995-2006, 2008, 2018-2019

Conditions Governing Access

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Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement.

Biographical Note

James Baker is a photographer originating from the New England area. Attended graduate school at Rhode Island School of Design where he studied with Aaron Siskand, Harry Callahan, and visiting faculty Minor White and Lisette Model. He worked at both the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas in Dallas as a tenured faculty member.

He became the Photography Program Director at Anderson Ranch Arts Center near Aspen, Colorado where he invited hundreds of renowned photographers to teach and participate in workshops. These artists included Frederic Sommer, Mark Klett, Linda Connor, and Mary Ellen Mark among many others. He co-curated Photography: Selected Images exhibition, planned The Political Landscape Conference, and recreated and wrote about The 1951 Aspen Photography Conference for Aspen magazine.

During his years, he collected recordings of photographers talking about their work and creative process. These include the Allen Street Gallery Talks, Anderson Ranch Workshops featuring Frederick Sommer, his radio hosted program titled "All About the Arts".

Historical Notes

The Aspen Institution hosted The 1951 "Aspen Photography Conference" under the leadership of Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke. The purpose of the conference was to bring attention to the art of photography through lectures, an exhibition, and informal discussion groups led by experts in the field. Due to a fire in the 1960s, all records associated with the conference were lost, so James Baker through the use of interviews and research reconstructed the conference and wrote about it in Aspen Magazine in 2004.

Photography: Selected Images was an exhibition that toured nationally from 1976-1978. James Baker co-curated and presented. This exhibition and symposia showcased works and methods by Aaron Siskand, Harry Callahan, Arnold Newman, Gary Winogrand, Ray Metzger and Laura Gilpin.

Allen Street Gallery Talks: Allen Street Gallery was a non-profit gallery that operated in the 1980’s in storefront exhibition space in Dallas, Texas. Noted photographers were invited to exhibit their work and present talks. Audio talks often accompanied slide presentations.

The Political Landscape Conference,1989. Stemmed from Richard Misrach's idea of a Photography Workshop in 1988. James Baker planned the conference with the aid and advice of Richard Misrach. Held at the Snowmass Club, it was a confluence of artists and environmental as well as political leaders. Associated with the SPE, it was shown concurrently at Anderson Ranch. Approximately 200 presenters, that was expansive and inclusive with representatives from intermountain wests’s native tribes, politicians, writers, historians, filmmakers, activists and photographers.

From 1995-2006 James Baker hosted a weekly 25 minute radio interview on KAJX titled All About the Arts. The show interviewed artists, writers, poets and filmmakers about their creative process.


6.79 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


This collection was gifted by James Baker in 2019.

Processing Information

This collection was accessioned by Leslie Squyres in 2019 and added to ArchivesSpace in 2021. The collection was processed and rehoused by Colleen Pepper in 2022.

James Baker collection
Colleen Pepper
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States