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Growing Season

The Life of a Migrant Community

Award Winners, Photography, Regional Interest



Award Star IconSelected as one of the “Books that Matter” by the Association of American University Presses for its 75th anniversary.

Award Star Icon2007 Carter G. Woodson Secondary Honor Book

When photographer Gary Harwood first stepped onto the K. W. Zellers family farm in Hartville, Ohio, to take pictures of the Mexican migrant workers there, he did not expect to find such a strong, tightly knit community.

Over the next five years he used his camera to study the lives and work of these migrants in their northeastern Ohio home. His artful photography captures the migrants’ portraits and movingly conveys their great pride in work and family, their struggles and joys.

Accompanying these vibrant photographs are revealing first-person narratives written by David Hassler. The voices of the migrants and community members are eloquent testaments to the importance of the culture, the resilience of the people, and the power of the place.

In photos and stories, Growing Season celebrates the work and play and religious, medical, familial, and communal experiences of these workers—young, old, male, female—and offers readers a success story. A part of our American landscape, these people and the dedicated, caring group of volunteers who support them teach all of us about dignity and humanity.


Gary Harwood has been a photographer for Kent State University for more than 22 years and chief photographer since 1987. He has won four national Circle of Excellence awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), was named the 2001 University Photographers Association of America’s Photographer of the Year, and won the 2005 James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award from the Ohio News Photographers Association (ONPA). His work has appeared in numerous national publications, including the Communication Arts Photo Annual and the Graphis Photo Annual, and he received the 2006 Individual Artist grant for photography and the 2005 Artists and Communities grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

David Hassler is the author of two books of poems, Sabishi: poems from japan and Red Kimono, Yellow Barn. He is co-editor of A Place to Grow: Voices and Images of Urban Gardeners and Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School. A recipient of an individual Artist Fellowship and an “Artists and Communities” grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and of the Richard Devine Memorial award for poetry, his poems and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Sun, Double-Take/Points of Entry, Indiana Review, and other journals. He is the program and outreach director for the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, where he teaches and conducts writing workshops in local schools and senior centers.