(Left: Cocaine, Right: THC)
He got the idea for the project while he was working as a bartender. His experiences in various venues allowed to be exposed to many types of people. He observed the guests and slowly began to determine what drugs they were using, if any. He focused on people's eyes, which he says is the main clue that gives away what they are on. Different drugs present with different effects on people's eyes. As seen in the pictures below, there are distinct characteristics that appear in each case. Baker was inspired to focus on eyes by Steve McCurry's "Afghan Girl".
(Left: Methamphetamin, Right: Psilocybin)
Each individual that he photographed had a very different background and path to drug usage. He was very specific to point out that drugs are not restricted to homeless people or stereotypical drug users. Drug users come from various career backgrounds, ages, sexes and races. Baker states that "the individuals featured in this series showcase the diversity of those who use mind altering substances. They include students, servers, doctors, soldiers, lawyers, politicians, mothers, fathers, artists, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and judges." He includes a short snippet describing each person, the effects of the drug and their personal description of how they feel to give a deeper understanding of each user.
Baker's photography style is composed of mainly portraits. His main creative influence is Martin Schoeller, who uses faces to tells stories. Baker takes this one step further and uses eyes to tell stories. He hopes to continue this in his next project where he will use a similar theme to depict various mental illnesses. His goal with this project is also the same: to show the diversity of people who are affected my mental illness to dispel stereotypes about them.
McLean, Laird D. "Organizational culture’s influence on creativity and innovation: A review of the literature and implications for human resource development." Advances in Developing Human Resources 7.2 (2005): 226-246.