Apr 25, 2011

DISFARMER The Vintage Prints

The legendary Mike Disfarmer is considered one of the great portraitists in the history of photography. As the resident photographer in tiny Herbert Springs, Arkansas, he captured the faces of the American heartland at a defining time in history in which the Great Depression yielded to World War II, and the sons of the farm donned their country's uniform and headed off to foreign shores. He was also a true American eccentric: born Mike Meyer in 1884, he legally changed his name to Disfarmer to disassociate himself, not only from the farming community in which he piled his trade, but from his own kinfolk - claiming that a tornado had accidently blown him onto the Meyer family farm as a baby.

All photos above from the hardcover book DISFARMER The Vintage Prints.
Previously, Disfarmers work was known only from a cache of glass-plate negatives that had been salvaged from his studio after his death. The book DISFARMER The Vintage Prints presents his original vintage prints for the very first time. It is the culmination of an unprecedented two year reclamation project in which a team of dedicated researchers scoured every family album in every home along every dirt road in Cleburne County, Arkansas. via DISFARMER The Vintage Prints

DISFARMER The Vintage Prints is one of two Disfarmer books in our collection and one of three hardcover books currently available which also include Mike Disfarmer: ORIGINAL DISFARMER PHOTOGRAPHS and DISFARMER: The Herbert Springs Portraits, 1939-1946.

Must have material for those who appreciate the dust bowl & depression era photography of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans & Lewis Hine.

Send a Disfarmer postcard e-card here

Guitarists Bill Frisell, who I had the pleasure of seeing perform live a half dozen odd times in the 1990's, recently released the album Disfarmer based on Disfarmer's work and performed the Disfarmer Project live to a slide show of Disfarmer's portraits. While initially drawn to his over the top, 40 genres of music in 60 seconds playing with John Zorn's Punk, Jazz, Speed-Metal, Film Score mash-up group Naked City, I enjoy and appreciate Frisell's truly unique and American musical voice explored on his later solo work. 

More info and song samples from Disfarmer can be found at Bill Frisell's website here. Scroll down the discography and click on Disfarmer. Highly recommended as the proper soundtrack to these wonderfull images. 

 He's a guitar tactician with warmth and a composer of unclassifiable songs. As a solo artist, Frisell is known largely for drawing upon the affects of Americana — folk, country and western, what-have-you — in ways you wouldn't immediately call jazz, but which draw from jazz in a way that implies no better descriptor. via npr.org

In 2008, a picture of Disfarmer was used on the 80th Academy Awards telecast as the alleged portrait of Roderick Jaynes, the film editing pseudonym of the Coen brothers, who was nominated at that ceremony for editing the Coens' film No Country for Old Men. Disfarmer's photo was supplied to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the Coens after Jaynes' nomination. via wikipedia


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