Friday, February 19, 2010

LJI Community Profile: Photographer Harold Baquet

Award-winning photographer Harold Baquet is the University Photographer at Loyola University New Orleans. His family has been in Louisiana for seven generations, and he has worked as a professional photographer for more than 25 years.

As a photojournalist, he has photographed many New Orleans civil rights and political leaders, and covered the changing social and cultural influences of the region. His work has been featured in national publications including Rolling Stone, in books like The Last Hayride by John MaGinnis, and featured in the collections of museums in New Orleans, Chicago and Washington D.C.

In an interview with LJI today, Baquet listed Gordon Parks' book A Choice of Weapons as an important early interest, helping set his mission of "using photography as a means of revealing the inequities in society." Baquet lists themes such as housing, criminal justice and workers rights as among the issues his work has focused on. He says his decisions as a photographer were never guided by commercial interests, "just things I thought were important."

Baquet has long been inspired by New Orleans and its people. He is especially interested in celebrating the history of resistance that free Black people engaged in. "We defied social conventions by attacking Jim Crow and by attacking the inequities that occurred after reconstruction," he says. In addition, "We were a people that defied European musical convention and invented a new music form. One of the things I want to do is celebrate this history, and this work."

On Wednesday, February 24, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm, Baquet will discuss his 30-plus year career in photography and tell the stories behind the images he has captured during his career. Baquet will discuss his Louisiana roots, as well as New Orleans culture, music, food, faith, work ethic, craft ethic, racial identity, and more. He will also explore how his work relates to his personal experience and motivation. He will also cover the skill sets young people who want to pursue photography as a career should develop.

Loyola University will present the discussion with Baquet at Miller Hall, Room 114, on the Loyola campus. Baquet notes that much of the work on display will be from early in his career. "Most of it has never been published, and most of it had never been seen," he says. For anyone concerned about New Orleans history and its future, this event represents an exciting opportunity.

This event is free. For additional information contact: Lisa Martin at 504-865-2438 or by email at

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