Pat’s good people. My girlfriend introduced me to him and his work and he’s a phenomenal talent. I know I’ve mentioned him here before just recently too, but now he was nice enough to put up with my persistent internet pestering to answer stuff for me. All photos are courtesy of him and he can be found online here.
-So introduce yourself.
Pat Jarrett, photographer and professional sightseer.
-What drew you to photography?
It was a combination of my love of politics and my love of art. I was always drawing as a kid and took all the art classes I could in high school. Though art was important to me, and still is, I wanted to have a job, so photojournalism seemed to be the logical choice. I remember the day I told my mom that’s what I wanted to do.
“Hey mom, I think I want to be a photojournalist.”
“Pharmaceuticals are hot right now.”
-How’d you get into it as a career?
Through my college paper and the mentoring of Akron Beacon Journal photographers, I came into my own.
-Favorite things about it? Least favorite aspects of it?
I both love and hate the unpredictability of it. News happens any time of the day or night, whether or not you planned dinner and a movie with your girlfriend.
-What’s your favorite piece of gear right now? Any toys you’ve been loving these days? How about classic or general favorite?
The best piece of equipment for me right now is a military-issue belt pouch. It is the perfect size for a lens or 2 flashes and frees me from carrying the big, heavy camera bag on my shoulder. I love the Nikon creative lighting system, it makes wireless lighting setups frighteningly simple.
-I’ve noticed that you tend to work with a variety of subject matter. What’re your favorite type subjects to shoot?
Good question. I like politics because they are well-lit and there is usually a pack of photographers all looking for the best shot. The best shot is not the one everybody gets, it’s the photo not everybody sees that takes some work that is the best. It’s challenging to catch the true human element in a politician, too.
-Weirdest thing you’ve ever covered and photographed?
This is a toss-up. While covering Katrina /Rita I found a beach community in Cameron Parish that hadn’t been touched 8 months after the storm. I shot photos of an 80-year-old man digging sewer lines by hand so FEMA could drop a trailer on his land. All around him was the decay and ghostly skeletons of his neighborhood. It was surreal.
I also covered a radical Christian church that practiced street-preaching in Ohio. The strangest thing was watching “The Passion of the Christ” with them in their unmarked church.
-Any thoughts on the growth of internet-only media and the general open-source aspect of it? And how that might affect being a photographer?
I have a problem with people not paying for professional photography. I don’t ask anybody to work for free. However, I love the idea of web-based journalism and multimedia storytelling. It brings me one step closer to my dream job of being a photographer for NPR.
-What’re you spinning and reading these days?
Reading-“The Wine of Astonishment” by William Sears
Sears was a Christian journalist in the UK who set out to disprove the Baha’i faith through reputable religious documents and scholars of the day and ended up converting. The Baha’i faith basically says all religions come from the same one god. It is a follow up book to “Thief in the Night”.
Listening; “Sink or Swim”, The Gaslight Anthem…Neo Bruce Springstein + Punk=win. “Rabbit Habits”, Man Man…Face-melting crazy beard rock. They are crazy and I love it. “yoyoyoyoyoyo”, Spank Rock…Any artist rapping about “Ass shakin competition champ” AND samples Monty Python is O.K. in my book.
-What’s your opinion on pumpkin pie?
Let me break it down for you; Pumpkin pie -love pumpkin pie ice cream- love pumpkin pie shakes- I’d rather have ice cream pumpkin spice latte- where’s my espresso? pumpkin ale- New Holland and Buffalo Bill have the best flavors. Blue Moon doesn’t even taste like pumpkin. Punkin ale- Dogfishhead beer. A-freeking-mazing.