Don Baida was born and raised in the Bronx. He studied art and photography at City College of New York where he graduated with a B.A. in Commercial Art and had an undergraduate fellowship teaching photography. He also studied art at the Art Students League.
In 1956, while working as a photo assistant, he met Weegee (Arthur Fellig) and was invited to join a photography club outing to Headley Farm in New Jersey where Bettie Page was a model. His photographs from this event appeared in an episode of PBS’ History Detectives and in the documentary film, Bettie Page Reveals All (2012).
During the subsequent years, he also photographed such notables as Louis Armstrong, Jerry Mulligan, Peter and Jane Fonda, and Dick Van Dyke as well as numerous beauty pageants and events at Palisades Amusement Park where the likes of Bobby Darin, Johnny Mathis, and the King and Queen of Nepal were captured by his lens. His work was published in Life, Seventeen, and various other magazines.
His iconic photo of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969, was published in the award-winning book, “Life Magazine and the Power of Photography,” (Princeton University with Yale University Press, 2020), and “Summer of ’69:When Everything Happened. And Everything Changed.,” a collaborative edition between The New York Times and Meredith Special Interest Media (2019). As part of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the image was included in a traveling exhibition organized in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Malaysia. The photograph is currently on display in “Destination Moon,” at the Smithonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Today he lives in southeast Florida and is often out and about with a camera in tow.