Photographer of the Month
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Here is a photographer you may not know about. We chose him, honestly, because his eerie images put us in the Halloween mood (though we know we're a bit late). But on looking again at his pictures, we discovered his work is much more than a novelty. This excerpt from the Artsynet Gallery website gives a good sense of who he was as an artist. Though not everyone will find Meatyard to their liking, and may even find his images dark and disquieting, we are pleased to present a photographer working in some unexpected corners.
"By vocation an optician, by avocation a self-described “dedicated amateur” photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard pursued his own vision to produce an exquisitely enigmatic, widely admired body of work. Meatyard began taking photographs in 1950, roaming the backwoods and towns in Kentucky, experimenting with framing, multiple exposures, and blurring to produce haunting, abstracted images of natural and manmade environments. In the late ’50s, he began incorporating monstrous, oversized latex masks and hands, and plastic dolls into his photographs. His family and friends were the protagonists in his carefully composed scenes, their heads consumed by the masks, plastic dolls often arranged about them. For Meatyard, who was inspired by Zen Buddhism and jazz, the masks served to equalize his subjects and shift focus elsewhere—to the poignant juxtaposition of otherworldly faces on human bodies, to the ambiguous and unknowable in human nature."