Rhythms of Creation:
A Family's Impressions of Indigenous Peoples of the World





Jack Baxter, 85, has been a photographer since the age of 12 when he had his first darkroom in the attic of his house in Brunswick, Maine.  It became a hobby that he pursued throughout his life.  Upon retiring from politics and business in 1982 he combined this long-standing love of photography with his desire to see and experience the remote regions of the world.  He found the peoples of these places fascinating subject matter for his photography.  His work has been shown in Cuenca and Guayaquil, Ecuador and Portland and Bend, Oregon.

Jack graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine in 1942.  He married Alice Comee, his high school sweetheart, and settled in Brunswick where he was trained in the family food processing business, HC Baxter and Brother - Baxter's Finest canned vegetables and dehydrated potatoes that served to feed the forces at war in the forties.

They moved to Pittsfield, Maine in 1950 so that Jack could be closer to the food processing plants.  They raised three children in Pittsfield while Jack followed family footsteps in the arena of politics, while running the business - all the while taking photographs on his travels and of his family.  He had a darkroom in the basement of the house in Pittsfield, and the memory of prints drying throughout the house is indelibly imprinted on the memories of his children.

Jack was majority leader of the House of Representatives from 1960-1964, and vice-chairman of Maine's Executive Council under John Reed until the family business was merged with a company in Oregon and Jack moved West in 1966 and subsequently became president of the Oregon business. That company merged with a conglomerate in Hawaii called Amfac and Jack became an executive vice president of that company.

Oregon became the Baxters' home for 30 years.  Jack pursued public service through education and serves on the board of Lewis and Clark College and was Chairman of the Oregon Educational Coordinating Committee.  In Oregon Jack moved into color processing and printing and moved away from black and white.

When he retired from Amfac in 1982 he began to pursue his love of photography in earnest and has been traveling the world photographing people in their everyday lives.  His work includes photographs of the peoples of Africa, New Guinea, Ecuador, Morocco, China, Thailand, Nepal, Japan, Europe, the Middle East and most recently, the nomadic tribes of India.

Jack makes every effort to take unposed photographs, capturing the "fleeting moment" that suggests the intangible, the invisible and the mystery that surrounds different people in different cultures, always striving for compositional integrity.

The following quote expresses Jack's approach to photography: 

"I am addicted to photographing on impulse;  and I don't do much thinking or preparing for a shot.  There's seldom time, and I'm not a methodical shooter.  My photographic seeing is essentially quick;  it consists largely of recognition without thought.  An instant visual "YES/NOW/THIS"-without words-is my signal to shoot.  When I think about a picture before I push the button, the picture tends to go stale and die.  I've learned the hard way that when I'm taking photos, my picture seeing is much better than my picture thinking, so I don't analyze when I shoot.  I find thinking useful, but not when I'm shooting, when it just gets in the way."   David Vestal-Photo Techniques Jan/Feb 1999.



Connie Baxter Marlow