THE ADIRONDACK REVIEW: How did your career as a photographer begin?
DEBRA BAIDA: With a bit of resistance actually, though I don’t consider photography my career, per se, but more as one vehicle for engaging and exploring in the world.
As long as I can remember, and even before then, cameras have always been present in my life. I’ve always taken photographs and have been surrounded by imagery. For18 years, I’ve worked with other peoples’ photographs in the editorial and museum realms, learning the business (literally) from all sides – the perspective of a photographer’s manager and agent, assigning and licensing images for publications, and curating and editing for exhibitions. My personal image making quietly took the back seat due to the fact that I was constantly surrounded by amazing work on a regular basis. In my free time, I needed other stimuli.
Years of urgings from friends and my listening and shrugging off what seemed obvious in their eyes has finally sunken in. During the past couple of years, my camera and I reunited after too much time apart. There was a rediscovery of the magic and joy that the images can bring to both myself and others, and it’s become apparent that being a photographer is part of who I am.
TAR: What kinds of images are you most compelled to capture on film?
DB: In general, I’m taken with capturing the “in-between” moments, perhaps a version of what Henri Cartier-Bresson coined as “the decisive moment.” The nuances of a particular moment, which can be anything from a gesture, expression, elements of light or shape, or even an anticipated movement, compel me to bring the camera to my eye.
In some ways, my subject matter is rather mundane and comprises the small things that most people usually overlook. I’m lured by moments I wish to gaze at longer, that peek my curiosity, and make me smile. I photograph that which I want to remember.
Photography is a form of notetaking, and is a record of what and how I’m seeing, feeling, and being at a given time and place. They are a form of shorthand for storytelling, a way of creating tangible memories.
TAR: Has your photography been influenced by any certain region(s) or locale(s)?
DB: No. Not at all. It’s all about the here and now – wherever and whenever that is.
TAR: Who do you consider to be your artistic influences?
DB: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Duane Michaels, Sally Mann, Keith Carter
TAR: What is your all time favorite book of photography?
DB: Narrowing the pantheon of photographic publications to just one is a challenge. I’ve got favorites in different genres. Hmmm…I’d have to say “Exiles” by Josef Koudelka or “The Americans” by Robert Frank. I’m sure I think of another one later…