Jarmak perfectly captures Chelsea

Award-winning photographer showcases his work in exhibit at BC’s McMullen Museum of Art

David Weiss, who grew up in Chelsea, walked through the McMullen Musuem of Art at Boston College and viewed the new exhibit: “Photographing Chelsea In Transition 1977-89” by award-winning photographer Arnie Jarmak.

“I love these photos. They bring back a lot of memories,” said Weiss.

Weiss was particularly enthralled by Jarmak’s depiction of the historic Walnut Street Synagogue. “That’s amazing,” remarked Weiss.

Gail Weisman was also captivated by Jarmak’s photographs of Chelsea’s buildings, schools, and synagogues, among other landmarks.

“This exhibit is lovely – I’m so glad that he captured these photographs,” said Weisman, a 1963 graduate of Chelsea High School. “Seeing Broadway, Bellingham Square, a photo of Sam Pressman [of Pressman’s Deli] – he’s done a great job of bringing back some of my own wonderful memories of Chelsea.”

Arnie Jarmak was the Chelsea Record staff photographer from 1977 to 1989. He was an institution in Chelsea, known for his unique personality and congenial nature. As a photographer, he was highly acclaimed for his brilliant photos that appeared daily in the Record. Despite his greatness behind the camera, Jarmak remained humble and accessible to the community he loved.

Jarmak does pay tribute to his former photojournalistic home with a portion of the expansive exhibit photos dedicated to The Chelsea Record and legendary newspaper publisher, Andrew P. Quigley, who served as Chelsea mayor, state senator, and school committeeman.

‘In the canon of great photographers’ Diana Larsen is the assistant director for collections management, exhibition design, and curatorial affairs at the McMullen Museum of Art. It was she who masterfully designed the Jarmak exhibit for viewing by visitors. “I’m very pleased with the way it came out,” said Larsen. “We probably looked at about 800-1,000 photos to make these selections. It was really hard to select, but I think what we have come up with is great.” Larsen was asked to assess Jarmak’s immense abilities as a photographer. “One of our docent volunteers who is going to be giving tours of the exhibit asked if Arnie was recognized in the canon of American photography,” said Larsen. “I replied that he will certainly be.”  Jarmak credited Larsen for granting him the honor of displaying his work at the prestigious college’s museum. She first became familiar with Jarmak’s incredible works during a visit to Chelsea. “Diana is the reason that my work is in the McMullen Museum – without a doubt,” said Jarmak. “A ray of light shone down upon me in Chelsea Square. The gods opened up the stars and the skies, and a ray of light came down, and this fabulously gifted woman looked at my work and she understood what I was trying to say immediately. And it was a really great moment for me, for Chelsea, and for the Chelsea Record.” (The McMullen Museum of Art will host a special reception for Arnie Jarmak on Sunday, Oct. 2.)

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