Francis Baker is an artist based in Oakland, CA. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Francis’ photographic works use the gum bichromate process and other historical photographic processes.
Francis explains his work by saying, “The project, a tolerable balance of intolerable things, began with the questioning of my own values as I lived among the increasing homeless crisis. I could not reconcile how I could pursue my life, as well as, teach my child integrity and morality, while homeless encampments, panhandling, and extreme poverty are at my doorstep. Over the past three years, I have explored social injustice and inequity, wealth and poverty disparity, and themes of mental health and the human spirit. Except for a few missteps, we all could be caught up in the downward spiral that has overtaken much of the homeless population. In the Bay area, this population grew by 40% in the last two years, most of whom are living in temporary shelters. All the while, home prices have soared to almost unattainable heights. On top of that, the lack of social equality continues to plague our nation. I am mobilized by the authoritative human spirit, which can be so cruel while feeling justified and righteous. I am moved to make work centered on the injustice I see. Being a witness, interpreting and reinterpreting societal conduct is a major thrust in this work. I am also inspired by the resilience of the human spirit, how you can lose everything and still go on.”
The process Francis prefers is Gum bichromate, a 19th-century photographic printing process based on the light sensitivity of dichromates. It is capable of rendering painterly images from photographic negatives.
Francis is inspired and encouraged by the optimism of the human spirit.
He is self taught.