October 1, 2010 Wendy Thompson Editor-in-Chief Metro Link, Top 10 Most Interesting People 2010
When Terrence Baker walked onto the floor of the State Senate in Maryland’s State House in Annapolis, he could never have known the significance of his visit. Dressed in his best suit and tie, carrying a 35mm DSLR camera in one hand and a pack of Mentos candy in the other, Baker stepped onto the floor of the State Senate and unknowingly made “…one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Baker was invited along with four other photographers from New Vision Photography Program to participate in a photo shoot titled “A Day in the Life of Senator Jennie Forehand”.
Having been chosen as the lead photographer in the group, Baker would not only spearhead the project, but he would also be the subject of a CNN story on finding jobs for persons with disabilities. As if an indication of the many surprises awaiting him in the future, the Senate unanimously voted to present Baker and his fellow photographers with a commendation for their photography work and their leadership as ambassadors for individuals with disabilities. The CNN story aired and within the community that works with the disabled, he became a celebrity of sorts. However, despite his laidback, Obama-style swagger and demeanor, Baker never displays an inkling of conceit. His humility and calm presence is refreshing and denotes a young many who is seriousabout his craft, but does not takehimself too seriously.
Baker has indicated that he is disabled and has been since birth, but he does not know his full diagnosis. He is a man of few words, but in no way does it suggest that he’s unaware of what is going on in his life. His priorities are currently his 2 year old daughter, Jazmine (“With a ‘z’,” he says.) and his part-time job at Giant Foods grocery store. Although, it is not a dream job, he readily admits that he loves working for Giant and with his manager, Mark. It was not long ago when he found himself struggling to find any job.
“The last job I worked at, I pretty much didn’t get there, because I didn’t have no fare to get to the job,” he says. “I’m not sure what happened; they [New Vision] just found me a better job.” He says the job at Giant is a lifesaver, because “it puts food on the table and clothes on your back.” He says he can take better care of his daughter now and provide things “like food, clothes, toys…” He sees his daughter “real often” and usually “more than once a week” he adds. “She loves it,” he says regarding his mother’s impression of the program that helped him get a job. Currently, Baker lives with his brother in an apartment in Southeast, Washington, DC.
On October 23, Baker will cover the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, its events and parties in Washington, DC as one of the lead photographers for the DC Spotlight newspaper. He insists that when he gets older, he wants to be a professional photographer and will improve his skills by “getting my own camera and taking more pictures.” Currently, he uses a 35mm DSLR camera from New Vision Photography Program on his photography shoots. In September, he was privileged to meet and interview Tim Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the president of Special Olympics. The young photographer thanked Shriver for the work he does with Special Olympics and sent a belated thanks to Mrs. Shriver for her life’s work with disabled individuals. He reminded Tim Shriver that he won 4 gold medals in the track and field competition during a previous Special Olympics event.
Baker’s resilience and commitment to excellence and following his dream of becoming a trained photographer is endearing and inspiring on all levels. If his past is any indication of where his future leads, he should have no problem attaining that goal.