By John Wolcott HBJ Freelance Writer
ARLINGTON — Berta Baker’s home-based Arlington business, Baker PhotoGraphics, frequently has had a presence at Northwest art shows, offering buyers an opportunity to dress up their homes with stunning scenic and floral pictures, framed and double-matted.
Now, she’s expanded into commercial sales, filling the walls of medical facilities and business offices with pictures that touch people’s minds and hearts with their detail, lighting and visual energy.
She delivered more than 50 photos for the walls of the recently opened Cascade Skagit Health Alliance building on 172nd Street NE in Smokey Point and has orders for photos going up at the Denny’s restaurant on Highway 530 at Island Crossing.
“We’ve had some photos hung without frames but now I’m going back to framed and matted images because they look even better,” she said. “Bob, the manager at the Arlington Denny’s, really believes people like local artwork and he’s investing in many new photos of ours for the restaurant, along with local scenic photos by Steve Baker. He often sells them off the wall because people ask for them, so the collection gets rotated.”
Steve Baker is no relation to her family, she said, but “he’s an outstanding local photographer who’s also a good friend. He’s helped me with much of the transition in the business after (her husband) Kent’s death, especially in some of the technicalities of the Epson printers.”
From Pacific Northwest landscapes to arrangements of colorful yellow tulips against a contrasting black background, she’s marketing a wide array of images taken by herself and her late husband, Kent, who died earlier this year after battling cancer in recent years.
Even during his medical treatments, he continued to record thousands of images for their business and often taught Adobe Photoshop image editing software classes in Arlington and Marysville. Featured in a February 2008 Snohomish County Business Journal article, he was well known for his photographic expertise, developed over years of marketing photo processing equipment and traveling hundreds of miles to gather thousands of photos of scenes in the Northwest and Southwest.
Kent Baker began showing and marketing his tens of thousands of photos in 2002 when he and Berta launched Baker PhotoGraphics in Arlington. Although Berta Baker started working with him in the business, it wasn’t long before she took up photography herself, bringing what her husband called “her own unique touch” to the business’ photo collection.
“We always wanted to expand into commercial sales, so now I’m continuing with that, along with our art show presence,” Berta Baker said, referring to her displays at area events.
On the board of directors of the Arlington Arts Council, she also is involved in selecting public art displayed around the city, including the relatively new rock-mounted salmon-and-river art on Highway 530 at the northwestern entrance to Arlington.
Baker also has a regular display at the Arlington Eagle Festival art show each February, at, the Arts Council’s June art sale Art in the Barn at Oso, 12 miles east of Arlington, and the upcoming Art in the Park on Olympic Avenue in September. For more information, go to www.arlingtonartscouncil.net.
“We also have our annual Arts Council auction coming up Oct. 20 at the Medallion Hotel in Arlington, which raises funds for the public art we place around the city,” she said.
When people order photos directly from Baker, she often invites them to come to her printing studio to guide her in the final product.
“I encourage people to be there as we tweak the photo for them,” she said. “We keep them moderately priced, many in the $178 to $198 range, and print on canvas for that special look, but I want them to look just right for the buyers. My name is on these and I don’t want anything going out of there that people aren’t pleased with in their home.”
She also has images of Baker PhotoGraphics scenes at the Ornamental Arts Gallery, 13805 Smokey Point Blvd., Suite 105, in Marysville, which included several of Baker’s photos on the gallery’s website, www.ornamentalartsgallery.com.
It’s hard for Baker to pick favorites among her photos and her husband’s, but she said tulips and mountains are always popular subjects.
“Personally, I really like one of my recent prize winners showing an eagle on a tree branch. It was taken on the Tulalip reservation, near the old (St. Anne’s) church. A lot of eagles gather there because they know the Tulalips will be bring their fishing boats into the bay,” she said.
On the Web
For information on Baker PhotoGraphics’ background and to see some of the Bakers’ photos, go to www.bakerphotographics.com or call 360-474-8576.