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Retrospective 1976 to 2018
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GALLERIES
Retrospective 1976 to 2018
BIO
INFO
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BIO

I was first first introduced to photography as a Junior at Berkeley High School, during a time in my life when the visual was much more interesting and compelling than the cerebral. After a few years of dormancy, I picked it up again in my second semester at Santa Rosa Junior College and I have been captivated by shadow and light ever since. I often tell people that I was never able to paint with a brush on a canvas, but I can paint with light, and color, and emotion.

I graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Art, Photography Emphasis, and embarked on an amazing and varied visual journey. In my early career I was a photojournalist in Marin County for almost 9 years, working my way up to Photo Editor at the Pacific Sun newspaper in what I consider its "golden age", from the mid-70's to the mid-80's, working with high-quality feature writers, columnists, graphic artists, and editors on a muckracking paper with a liberal bent covering the amazing array of artists, writers, musicians, environmentalists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and political movers-and shakers that were drawn to the county at that time.

The first image I ever had published was a full-page shot of Christo's Running Fence, and I was hooked! It was a blast, and while learning the newspaper business I honed my photography skills shooting mostly feature stories, often using my Hasselblads instead of 35mm equipment, and I did all the darkroom work for the paper as well. I learned a hell of a lot during those years while having a front-row seat to many of the most interesting people and cultural events in Marin and around the Bay Area in the mid-seventies to mid-eighties.

Profoundly influenced early in my visual education by nature photographers like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Eliot Porter, I have also enjoyed capturing the natural world in all its amazing glory.  While I never photographed with a view camera and never considered myself an art photographer in that visual vein, I have always been blown away with the quality and vision of these artists. Other photographers that have influenced me include Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn,  Edward Steichen, and Margaret Bourke-White.

After the birth of my son Nicholas at age 30 I opened a Studio in San Rafael and started shooting commercial jobs in addition to my editorial work. I worked for many years for real estate firms doing architecural flyers and brochures, did business portraits for companies of all types, and even shot industrial images recording the construction of the first large-scale wind energy project in the Altamont pass. I also started covering weddings—something I NEVER thought I'd do coming out of the Art Photography program at SF State but work that helped pay the bills—and providing the outdoor graduation portraits for seniors at San Domenico School. I came to really enjoy working with couples during this amazing time in their lives and recording the love between them, as well as working with young people getting ready to start the shift to adulthood once they graduate from high school.  

These galleries, which I am just starting to build out, will highlight work I particluarly like and will include images from throughout my career.  These days I split my time between portraiture assignments, photographing the amazing graduating class at Sonoma Valley High School, and environmental work.  Starting in 2003 I have been on a path of discovery about the many environmental challenges we face, and this journey took me through stints on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club, Sonoma County Chapter, the Advisory Committee for Solar Sonoma County, the local Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy program, and 2 1/2 years of graduate school earning an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University's Green MBA program in 2011. 

I now work part time at Sonoma Ecology Center doing research, education, and policy work focused on creative ways of addressing climate change, better waste management techniques, and building soil health in agricultural settings.  Amazingly, my father co-founded the Berkeley Ecology Center in 1969, the first of its kind in the nation, a year before the first Earth Day.  Now all these years later I am proud to carry on his legacy working on environmental issues.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you find something that you find beautiful or that makes you appreciate the amazing world we live in.

Raymond Baltar

 

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