Friday, January 30, 2009

Last week to view Disfarmer Exhibition!

Born Mike Meyer, the sixth of seven children to German immigrant parents, he was a renowned eccentric. After establishing his studio in Heber Springs, Arkansas, Disfarmer successfully expressed his discontent with his community in general, and his own family in particular, by legally changing his name to Disfarmer. In modern German "meier" means "dairy farmer", and since he thought of himself as neither a "farmer," nor a "Meyer" he became "dis"- farmer. In later years he claimed that a tornado deposited him with the Meyer family.

His first studio was located in the rear of his mother's house, but by the late 1930's, Disfarmer became a fixture on Main Street; immortalizing the town's people during a defining time in history when the Great Depression yielded to World War II. Using glass plates, Disfarmer photographed his subjects in north light and was notoriously obsessed with obtaining the correct light. Although he often spent over an hour perfecting the lighting, when he was ready to photograph he did so with very little notice given to the sitters. The resulting portraits are noted for their intense honesty, laid bare of artifice.

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