Aaron Hardin (b. 1985) is an American photographer based out of Tennessee. His work focuses on the human condition in rural southern communities. Hardin is a graduate student in the Hartford Art School International Limited-Residency MFA in Photography program while working on long-form projects.
When people ask me where I live, I sheepishly respond with, “Jackson.” “Mississippi? I hear it’s an interesting town,” they’ll say.
“No… Tennessee,” I’ll respond. As the conversation immediately turns to a new topical subject, I often wish I had something more to say about my home. Every state has a Jackson and mine is one of the last to leave a memory. But there is some sort of magic here. I’d like to think it’s left over from bygone Negro spirituals and sharecropper cries. Those that toiled in the cotton fields together still linger.
A few summers ago, I had dream about my Papa’s house after he had passed away. An old, deathly ill African-American lady was squatting in what was left of my grandfather’s home. She was bundled up in quilts sitting in my Papa’s worn leather recliner. Her hair was mostly up kept but her clothes were ragged. She hobbled around the corner to dig out my Papa’s old beat up three stringed fiddle. I wept as she played the fiddle and sang, “Oh, how I feel it!” The town just over the hill was full of liquor stores, pawn shops, and empty strip malls. I remember seeing my Papa’s pistol on the fireplace ledge. The old lady picked up the revolver and began playing it like a fiddle, singing, “Oh, how I feel it.”
To view more of Aaron’s work, please visit his website.