Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Loyola Photographer, Mr. Harold Baquet

Michael Drake
Mr. Harold Baquet, our photographer at Loyola University New Orleans, is well known for the skill and artistry of his photographs. Michael Drake of Venezuela, an advanced student in the Loyola Intensive English Program, has interviewed Mr. Baquet and written the sketch below.

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By Michael Drake

Mr. Harold Baquet
Mr. Harold Baquet has been our photographer at Loyola University New Orleans for over 25 years. He says that his passion for photography grew at a very young age when he took pictures of his loved ones and of scenes he liked, but he did it as a hobby.

Mr. Baquet truly knew that he was good at taking pictures when he was a young boy and took a photo of one of his cousins. He thought that he had taken a cute little picture of her. She was very shy and she didn’t like having her picture taken. Then, a couple of years later, his cousin died, and his family used the picture that Mr. Baquet had taken to exhibit at her funeral. He felt affection from the older members in his family because of this photo. From that moment, Mr. Baquet started to look at all his surroundings to see what was important or would be important for someone. He felt that a picture could tell something about someone, like a narrative of the moment that the person is experiencing. He didn’t miss any event that he thought was worthwhile to photograph.

Mr. Baquet feels that his childhood was so lucky for growing up in New Orleans because of all the music, the culture, the social movement, and especially the people of New Orleans whom he describes as free and colorful.

Mr. Baquet came to Loyola after working in the mayor’s office as a photographer at City Hall. He saw the opportunity of working at the university. The previous Loyola photographer, Mr. Cresson, was retiring after many years at Loyola. Mr. Baquet describes Mr. Cresson as a legend who was very famous all over the city. Mr. Baquet felt that it would be an honor to work at Loyola with its rich tradition. He describes the difference between working at Loyola, which he calls the best job, and working at City Hall, which gave him many opportunities and good memories. He says that at Loyola he sells the students’ life style, which is calmer and which involves far less pressure than working at City Hall, where he had to sell New Orleans and the mayor's life style. But still Mr. Baquet says that working at Loyola is very hard work.

Mr. Baquet compares photography when he was younger and now. He says that nowadays it may be more competitive, but back then photography was more complicated and difficult. Today’s technology makes photography easier.

A recent exhibit on the fourth floor of Loyola's Monroe Library featured Mr. Baquet's photography. Mr Baquet says that he feels very proud of recording an important moment in a person’s life, as was seen in many of the photos in this exhibit. One photo, for example, shows Muhammad Ali in one of his most epic moments. Another shows the Manning family of football fame in New Orleans when Eli and Peyton were just kids. Archie Manning takes center stage in this photo, but now it is Eli and Peyton who are superstars.   

Mr. Baquet has exhibited and taken pictures all over the country, but he says his favorite place is New Orleans. He loves to take pictures of New Orleans and Loyola’s life.

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Please use the link below to see some of Mr. Baquet's photographs:

Our thanks to Michael Drake for introducing us to Mr. Harold Baquet and his wonderful photos of life in New Orleans and at Loyola University. Our next blog post will describe the visit of author George Bishop with the LIEP Advanced Writing & Reading class. We invited George Bishop to talk with us about his novel Letter to My Daughter after we had read and enjoyed it.

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