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Photographer at large

Recording Powell River of today for future generations

By Tara Trigg | Peak Intern

Published in the Powell River Peak: Friday, June 6, 2008
Don’t panic. That guy walking down the street with the camera taking photos of everything in sight is not from a secret government agency and he isn’t up to anything fishy. He’s from the museum.

Alex Barta has been hired by the Powell River Historical Museum and Archives Association through Career Link’s New Options program to document the city as it is now.

“Things change. Houses come up, buildings go down, colours change,” said Barta. “We must honour the past and do the best to preserve the present for the future.”

Teedie Kagume, museum coordinator, said that it’s important to document the town so people in the future can see what Powell River looked like across the years.

“People come in looking for visual documents of what their houses used to look like,” said Kagume. “Powell River is changing—businesses are going up. It’s important to see what it was like in 2008.”

Barta will be taking photos of houses and properties this summer. The photos will be entered into the museum’s main image collection.

Barta first started taking pictures when he was 12 years old, and had his first photograph published in a newspaper in Europe when he was 14. He’s owned over two dozen cameras over the years, and won awards for his photographic work.

“Photography was my life,” he said. “It was my life to the point that my health and family broke down, but I never lost the love of it.”

Barta used Career Link’s New Options program to connect with the museum.

“I came to a kind of junction in my life,” he said. “To help me decide where to go, I went to Career Link.”

Barta said that Career Link facilitated his coming to the museum, and that had it not been for that, he may not even be here anymore.

“I guess I was feeling a little down and disappointed, like I was kind of at the edge of a cliff,” he said. “I needed the opinions of others.”

The New Options program is a federal and provincial initiative administrated by Career Link that is meant to help people between the ages of 55 and 64 who wish to stay in the workforce find new jobs and careers.

“My whole interest in life and photography has been revived,” he said. “I’ve never experienced so much caring and dedication. They’re fantastic, especially for people who are uncertain of their future. They offer so much. I just can’t say enough positive things.”

The program focuses on creating a plan to suit each person’s individual needs.

“I’m an eternal optimist,” said Barta. “I think from here on it’s going to be smooth sailing.”

Residents will see Alex Barta photographing buildings and businesses this summer for the Powell River Historical Museum and Archives Association