Monday, July 27, 2015

The Suburban Dad Who Took the 1960s’ Eeriest Photos

Ralph Eugene Meatyard was born in 1925 in Normal, Illinois. He was an optician and, on the surface, a typical suburban dad who coached his son’s baseball team and served as president of the PTA in Lexington Kentucky. He was also a self-taught photographer and the nightmarish work he produced was anything but normal. He is best known for his surreal images populated with dolls and masks, with family, friends and neighbors pictured in abandoned buildings or in ordinary suburban backyards.

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, “Untitled” (1960), Gelatin silver print,
7.5 x 8 in (Guy Davenport Collection, Harry Ransom Center
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard)


Ralph Eugene Meatyard, “Occasion for Diriment” (1962), Gelatin silver print,
7.25 x 7.25 in (Guy Davenport Collection, Harry Ransom Center
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard)
In 1969, when asked about the sensation his photographs provoked, Meatyard said it was a feeling “akin to a shiver, and pleasurable as a shiver sometimes is.”

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