Bob Baker was born to Robert
Hardy and Mary (Sill) Baker in Jersey City, New Jersey, on
August 29, 1945. He grew up in New Jersey and in Westboro,
Bob was a member of the 1963 Science Quiz Team
He attended the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology where he studied photography under Minor White
and graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities and
I dropped out of MIT in mid junior year, got rejected by the draft on a medical technicality, and then moved myself to Washington, DC, to embark on life (I guess). I found a job as a typist at the UPI (news) bureau, where I would take calls from the reporter at the White House, Pentagon, etc., type it up and fling it over to the editor paragraph by paragraph -- if he hadn't already grabbed it out of my typewriter. It was pretty exciting, felt like being at the center of the world. In the quiet times, I would write any little local story I could, so they eventually made me a reporter and shipped me off to Hartford to earn my spurs. Two years later I was ready to go back and finish at MIT, which I did -- in Humanities.)
After college Robert taught photography at the Art Institute of Boston and then joined the Polaroid Corporation as a writer and editor. In 1977 Robert was hired by Ansel Adams and moved to California. Robert co-authored the series of books on how to make photographs, The New Ansel Adams Photography Series, and Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs. These books have sold several hundred thousand copies. He was also director of the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park for two years.
[Bob wrote in another email to John:]
By then I wanted to be a photographer (how young I was!) so I started doing some small freelance projects in Boston. To make ends meet (I was married -- it was a four-year event, my college marriage), I started teaching photography classes at the Art Institute of Boston. Three years later I got hired at Polaroid as editor of a technical photography magazine they published. That is where I met Ansel Adams, who was a consultant to Polaroid. He was trying to revise his Polaroid Manual, which was out of date by then, and I started sending him some feedback on his drafts (no one else seemed to know what to do with them). So he hired me full time and moved me to California (February of '77). I worked for him rewriting his technical series on how to make photographs. When we finished in '84, I looked around for other writing work, and found it in the fledgling high tech world -- the IBM PC was just out and Apple IIs were very popular.
In 1985 Robert entered the
burgeoning world of software documentation as a technical writer. Over
the years he worked as a senior technical writer, project manager,
publications manager, and vice president, holding positions at Lifetree
Software, Borland International, Starfish Software, and Agile Software.
He did contract work for a number of other companies. In 2004 he
retired to devote himself to his many interests.
Robert Hardy Baker of Santa Cruz, California, died at his home Thursday, February 12th, 2009, following a long illness. Robert was a loving friend and family member, a kind and quiet soul, and a font of knowledge. He leaves behind his step-daughter Danielle Levine of San Francisco, sisters Joanna Baker and Ashley Nugent of Kansas City, MO, brother Frank Baker of Raleigh, NC, and many friends in many places. We mourn his passing and miss him greatly.
Our thanks to Ashley Nugent, Bob's older sister, and to Frank Baker, Bob's younger brother, who supplied the above information.
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