Piece description from the artist
ballet dancer in abandoned building
Michael Barath is a photographer, educator, and human being living in Canton, Ohio. He is a perpetual student of photography as well as an instructor at Stark State College where he has been teaching for over 15 years.
Michael has been photographing for many years, seriously for the past 13, when grandchildren Hannah and Ayden were born. He’s always been emotionally connected to photography because his mother was an amateur photographer. Perhaps he is trying to extend her legacy by creating something of his own.
Throughout Michael’s life he’s had and internal debate – is it better to be pretty good at a lot of things, or world class at one thing? Unfortunately, he’s never had the attention span to commit more than a couple of years to any one pursuit: birding, climbing, bicycle racing, dog training, and more. That is, except photography. Here, he actually combines all his interests with photography by using them as subjects. Michael doesn’t know if he has the talent to be world class, but so far the camera strongly holds his attention.
Much of Michael’s personal work centers on nostalgia, in particular, feelings from childhood. This is something, of course, that only he can remember. But the wonder of artistic expression lies in its ability to evoke memories in others: a threadbare bedspread, a rusted hand pump, a counter-top juke box, a set of worn stairs, a wooden screen door. Michael remains fascinated with the connotative nature of art: how a piece will evoke different memories and feelings in each individual who experiences the work. His greatest accomplishment is when he can make others feel, tickle their hearts, give rise to a tear, unearth the key to a secret garden.