Joan Brooks Baker was born in 1944, and brought up in New York City by dyed-in-the-wool Southern parents. At age eleven she was taught how to make a pinhole camera with a shoebox, which she took, along with her deep curiosity, down the city’s streets, Central Park or just simply the subway. She came to understand that she was making mental snapshots in
order to create sense out of the chaos in life. Joan has exhibited her photographs and photographic monotypes in several galleries, mainly in Santa Fe, New Mexico and New York City, and was part of the United
Nations “70 women from 50 countries” exhibit, in which she showed her images of India’s female Ragpickers. Her work has been featured in Cross by Kelly Klein, Searching for Mary Magdalene: A Journey Through Art and Literature by Jane Lahr, Ms. Magazine, Men’s Vogue and Town & Country, The Dead Mule of Southern Literature; Symbols of Faith, A Visual Journey to the Historic Churches of New Mexico, to name a few. Her last photographic project, and one that spanned several years, was of The
Black Madonna. In her search to find the meaning of this icon’s legend, Joan began to relate the Black Madonna’s narrative to women she admired and to herself. It was through the Black Madonna presentation that she was inspired to write her memoir, The Magnolia Code.