Michael Nicholas Paras: Shooting Hoops

Marité & Joe Robinson Strolling Gallery I
February 22–June 16
Michael Nicholas Paras : Shooting Hoops

Michael Nicholas Paras
Moses Malone, Basketball Hall of Famer, Petersburg, VA, 2005
Archival pigment print
Edition 1 of 15
20 x 24 in.
Courtesy of the artist

New York-based photographer and videographer Michael Nicholas Paras is passionate about basketball. Combining his love of basketball with photographic skill, Paras’ work conveys a story about inspiration, motivation, hard work, team spirit, dreams, and achievement.  Paras resides in Maplewood, NJ.

The first basketball hoop was a peach basket nailed to an elevated running track at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, MA in 1891. Although it quickly evolved into a metal rim with a net, the basketball hoop has inspired countless variations as fans devise ways to play the game they love.

This ingenuity and variety is celebrated in the work of Michael Nicholas Paras, a photographer and videographer who is also an avid fan and amateur player.  Shooting Hoops presents a selection of his photographs from rural, urban, and suburban locations, each one highlighting a specific basketball hoop. Ranging from improvised milk crate versions to NBA regulation hoops and in varying degrees of repair, they represent the hopes and dreams of countless players, from the nameless to the famous.  The exhibition also includes several examples from Paras’s ongoing “First Hoops” project documenting the basketball hoops Hall of Famers used when they first played the game.

In contrast to the normal activity surrounding a basketball hoop, there are no players in these quiet photographs.  Instead, each empty hoop suggests a place filled with potential energy, where the memories and aspirations of past and future players meet.  Paras has observed that when he sees a basketball hoop he imagines “the stories behind the shots.” His photographs invite viewers to do the same.

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