Dear Mr. Picasso
A photographic memoir of photographer and FotoFest photo festival founder Fred Baldwin’s extraordinary life: how he followed his dream, used his imagination, overcame fear, and acted to accomplish anything. This account takes the reader to high adventure worldwide, but also to disaster and failure. This illustrated love affair with freedom shows how a camera became a passport to the world. The son of an American diplomat, who died when Baldwin was five, the book describes a string of disasters associated with six elite boarding schools and one university led to his exile to work in a factory where he joined low-paid black and white workers in his uncle’s factory in Savannah, Georgia. Baldwin escaped by joining the Marines and was immediately shipped to North Korea in 1950. Wounded and decorated twice, Baldwin also learned from the brutal, 35 below zero weather at the Chosin Reservoir where his unit was surrounded and outnumbered by the Chinese. After Korea, Baldwin moved to Paris, then returned to a junior college in Georgia, won a scholarship to Harvard and transferred to Columbia. Baldwin to teach himself photography by visiting MoMa and every photo gallery in New York. Baldwin wanted to be a photojournalist. By chance he spent a day and a night with the Ku Klux Klan and then he set out for Europe, heading for Scandinavia and the Arctic. What followed were picture stories about reindeer migrations, Nobel Prize coverage, underwater pictures of cod fishing in Arctic Norway, polar bear expeditions. After that he went to Mexico to photograph underwater the fight of hooked Marlin – an homage to Hemingway. In 1963, Baldwin joined the Civil Rights Movement, photographing Martin Luther King. A two-year stint as Peace Corps director in Borneo was followed by more photojournalism in India and Afghanistan. The stories in this book are often laced with self-deprecating humour, a mechanism that Baldwin had developed early as a survival tool.