Collection

Bob Walker, untitled, 35mm color slide. Oakland Museum of California Bob Walker Collection

The Bob Walker Collection

Bob Walker (1952-1992) was an environmental activist and photographer who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s after graduation from Oberlin College in Ohio. He began taking photographs in 1982 after a friend sold him his first camera—a Pentax ME. Armed with his Pentax, Walker traveled to the East Bay hills to capture the natural beauty of the area. He said, "I've really felt evangelical about making people stop and realize that they're in the middle of a very stunning landscape. It's all around them, and so accessible, but often they've overlooked it because California is loaded with so many superlatives." (December 1992, Diablo magazine.)

Walker was an influential environmentalist. He was chairman of the San Francisco Bay chapter of the Sierra Club and was active in many organizations, including Save Mount Diablo, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, the Greenbelt Alliance, and the Bay Trail Steering Committee, as well as being a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans.

Bob Walker died in 1992. During his last months, he spent time looking for someone to care for his life's work. He particularly wanted a place that would make his images available to the organizations to which he had dedicated his life. His collection was placed at the Oakland Museum of California by his executors in 1993. The collection includes over 30,000 images taken around the Bay Area during the last ten years of Bob’s life. Under contract to the East Bay Regional Park District, Bob photographed almost all of the District's properties from the Carquinez shoreline to Mission Peak. As an environmental activist, Bob also photographed the progress of development around the East Bay, using his images in numerous slide presentations. Approximately one quarter of the images are aerial views that reveal the topography of the East Bay region.

Prints of the Bob Walker Collection are available from the Oakland Museum of California and rights may be purchased for publication. The collection is available for viewing by appointment; please contact Carolyn Rissanen, Registrar, at 510-238-3885.

More at OMCA Collections Online