|Born: Mike Meyer |
Other: Michael Disfarmer
|Dates: ||1884 - 1959|
|Born: ||US, IN|
|Died: ||US, AR, Heber Springs|
An enigmatic portrait photographer who produced a extraordinary body of work at the farming community of Heber Springs.
Biography provided by Focal Press
A self-taught eccentric, photographer who set up a portrait studio in the small farming town of Heber Springs, Arkansas, and was not recognized in his lifetime. He claimed he was not a Meyer, but blown into the Meyer family by a tornado as a baby, hence the name change to "not a farmer." His simultaneous familiarity and distance with this community enabled him to directly capture the essence of its people from 1939 until his death. By violating the etiquette of small town photographers, he allowed his subjects to simply be themselves before his camera. Favoring natural north light, simple back-drops, and a postcard format (3-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches), his portraits collectively present an utterly straightforward microcosm of anonymous rural people. When viewed outside of their original context, the images, resembling a na´ve, mysterious, freewheeling blend of American Gothic, Arbus, Penn, and Sander, inadvertently pay tribute to a valuable service performed by small town photographers who documented daily life. A community member saved his glass negatives, leading to their belated public acclaim.
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer)
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409]
(Used with permission)
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