Pat Jarrett

Pat Jarrett is a photographer and editor currently working at the Virginia Folklife Program in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He was born and brought up in the northern suburbs of Akron, Ohio. Jarrett is married to a fire ­breathing seamstress and prefers two­ wheeled transportation to four any day of the week. He believes the low­-and-­slow method is best for cooking meat, luck is a manifestation of hard work and daily newspaper photography is a surreal art form.

It was weird to see Grandpa in a wheel chair. He was constantly in and out of rehabilitation homes, this time was after he fell and fractured his back before his birthday in 2008. He was always so tall to me, and the older he got the smaller he seemed, even though he was still nearly six feet tall. I remember saying that he was as tall as a refrigerator to my friends. His daughter Kathy kisses his cheek after a picnic lunch at the rehabilitation home.

A group of Grandpa Harry's nephews carry his flag-draped casket out of Holy Family Catholic Church in Stow, Ohio. Harry Tighe, my grandfather, died late on Monday, March 17, 2014 in Kent, Ohio, several miles from his home in Stow. Friday, March 20 family and friends carried his body to Oakwood Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls, where his wife Ruth Ann is buried. Photo taken on 3/21/14. Photo by Pat Jarrett

I find that a lot of photographers see Ohio as an endless sea of dead malls and salt­crusted cars on fire in front of rusted out steel plants. It’s more than that. The Ohio I know is tough and unforgiving. I never got a trophy for participation. The Ohio I know chews you up early so that when the shit hits the fan it’s not as bad as it could have been­ and as I grow older I’m thankful for that scar tissue.

Still life from grandpa's house. This room was grandma's T.V. room, it was my Auntie Kathy's room. A formative experience for my grandmother was her pilgrimage to Medjugorje where three children claimed to be visited and receive messages from the Virgin Mary starting in 1981.

Grandpa at home in 2007.

The Ohio I know is full of the best friends anyone could ask for. Ohio friends are friends for life. Sure, we have our disagreements and maybe we fought on the playground in the fourth grade, but after 30 years I know I can count on my Ohio friends. They are bedrock friends. They are the friends who will make sure you aren’t making a terrible decision. They will laugh at you right before they reach down to pick you up and dust you off and buy you a beer. They will fight anyone who means to hurt you.

After six days on the market Grandpa Harry's house was sold. The family pitched in and cleared out the place and when Mom and I got there and it seemed cold and cavernous. There were echoes in the basement and wear on the carpet where Grandpa Harry sat on the couch. Photo taken on 7/21/14. Photo by Pat Jarrett

The Independence Day parade in Stow, Ohio on 7/4/14. Photo by Pat Jarrett

My older sister's bathing suit hangs in my mom's basement under a photograph of her swimming in a bucket. My sister moved back to Ohio a year after having her first child, a son, and into my mother's house. She came home. When she moved with her husband about five years ago my mother kicked her son-in-law in the shins for taking her daughter to the other side of the country. He now lives in her basement. Photo taken on a trip back to Ohio in the summer of 2015. Photographed on 6/26/15.

Northeast Ohio doesn’t have the luxury of a geographical crown jewel. No ocean or mountain range, no grand desert or majestic vistas really to speak of. Ohio’s color palette is a shade above grey most of the year, and then there’s construction and humidity. Because of this I feel like the people there really have to lock arms, look each other in the eye squarely and say “hey, we’re in this together”

Maplewood Park subdivision Stow, Ohio, photographed 4/4/14. My grandparents lived in this neighborhood, about three-quarters of a mile from the home I grew up in, for as long as they had two children. It was one of the first subdivisions in the city of Stow that was mostly farmland before then. Now it's a bedroom community for Akron and Cleveland, almost all subdivisions. Photo by Pat Jarrett

The week after my grandfather was buried my sister flew into town for a baby shower. It's her first child. I drove back north to help with the party. Mom, my sister and my aunt ended up back at Grandpa's house and they suggested I take his pocket watch. It was his dress watch, they said-I only remember him wearing simple digital watches, and the engraved train on the back was scratched and scored. Once wound it kept perfect time. I photographed the timepiece on his bed, which he hadn't slept in for years because of his mobility problems.

Grandpa Harry's fishing cushion with a series of knots.

Art played Santa for the children at the party this year. The family member chosen to be Santa Claus dons the suit and distributes gifts family members bring for the kids. There is always singing, from "Up on the Housetop" to a Catholic benediction song. This year was tough, right before the dinner blessing Judy told us all that Eileen, Art's wife, had her leg amputated the previous day. Art still enchanted the children. Photograph made on December 21, 2014. Photo by Pat Jarrett

Harry Tighe, my grandfather, died late on Monday, March 17, 2014 in Kent, Ohio, several miles from his home in Stow. Friday, March 20 family and friends carried his body to Oakwood Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls, where his wife Ruth Ann is buried. Photo taken on 3/20/14. Photo by Pat Jarrett

After we buried him at Oakwood Cemetery the whole family went back to Holy Family Parish in Stow where a committee had arranged a luncheon for Grandpa. It wasn't Barberton chicken, his favorite, but the fried chicken was from his favorite pizza place in Stow, Altieri's.

A family photo was removed from the wall after grandpa died.

To view more of Pat’s work, please visit his website.



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