If you’ve not yet come across the rather curious world of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, (1925-72), also known as ‘Eyeglasses of Kentucky’ you could do worse than start with the selection of his pictures on the ASX Facebook page.

Meatyard became a licenced optician after Navy service, and bought a camera to photograph his newly-born son in 1950. In 1954 he studied with Van Deren Coke, and later with Minor White and Henry Holmes Smith.

Although included in several prestigious shows, he remained an amateur photographer, opening his own business as an optician in Lexington, Kentucky in 1967. A monograph of his work was published in 1970, the same year he discovered he had terminal cancer.

Meatyard never just took a photograph. His work was always carefully planned and executed, with his children and friends acting some surreal charade for the camera. The pictures are full of menace and foreboding. People wear masks or blur their faces by moving their heads during exposure,  emerge out of bushes or other unexpected places. Even the bushes sometimes seem to move. Meatyard creates a world in his pictures, that sometimes touches on our everyday, but always has some surprise up its sleeve.

More of his pictures at George Eastman House and on Google images, and a more detailed biography on Wikipedia.

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