In his latest Makers Who Inspire documentary, filmmaker Henry Thong profiles South Australian Time Magazine and Politico photographer photographer Ben Baker and explores his illustrious career photographing the world’s most powerful people.
From humble beginnings as a photography assistant in Adelaide, Baker has cultivated a storied career photographing the past four U.S. Presidents, industrialists like Elon Musk and high-profile celebrities, including the likes of Jay-Z, Leonardo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman.
In the short documentary, Baker meditates on his love for his craft and recounts tales of photographing some of his most well-known subjects. Amongst heart-warming stories about receiving a signed copy of his very first photograph of President Barack Obama and his photoshoot with Rupert Murdoch as a young photographer, Baker shares a particularly humorous anecdote from one of his photoshoots with Donald Trump.
“Ben’s work is particularly relevant to today’s socio-political climate,” filmmaker Thong says. “It was a fascinating experience accompanying him to the centre of American power and experiencing firsthand the political climate in the US Capitol.”
To produce the film, Thong interviewed Baker in Adelaide before filming him at his New York studio. Together they travelled to the US Capitol in Washington DC, where Henry filmed Baker in his element photographing Republican and Democrat congressmen for Politico. One of the subjects that day was Jeff Flake, the Republican senator from Arizona who has made headlines for publicly criticizing President Donald Trump.
“It honestly felt like I was experiencing history in the making,” says Thong of collaborating with Baker. “Working with Ben has been one of the highlights of my career so far.”
Makers Who Inspire is a documentary series exploring art, inspiration and the creative process through intimate interviews with makers of art.
Season 3’s films are currently being released every fortnight and can be viewed on Henry Thong’s YouTube channel.