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Ralph Eugene Meatyard

February 18, 2019

For all his adult life Ralph Eugene Meatyard worked in Lexington, Kentucky, as an optician making lenses for glasses. Born in 1925, he bought his first camera aged 25 to photograph his first child and died 22 years later having re-defined a way of seeing and transforming "the everyday nature of the family photograph into an unexpected momenrt". As a photographer "he was after essence not fact". He understood "the importance of reading the photograph as a text, full of potential references".

 

"Billboards in any art are the first things that one sees - the masks might be interpreted as billboards. Once you get past the billboard then you can see into the past [forests, etc], the present and the future. I feel that because of the "strange" that more attention is paid to backgrounds and that has been the essence of my photography forever". Ralph Eugene Meatyard in a letter to Jonathan Williams, the original publisher of The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater.

 

Meatyard does not tell me what his photographs are, they are an ever present and I'm left to discover them for myself. He's the least proscriptive photographer. His is a quiet reflection in a world bruised by the liturgical spew of the righteous screaming down my ear. I'd like to know his world but never will and that in itself is good to know as I'll never tire of his vision.

 

[All quotes are taken from, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, ICP, Steidl, 2004. text by Cynthia Young & Guy Davenport.

 

    Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1967

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1960

                   Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1962

                        Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1963

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1960

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, 1958

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, untitled, Private Corner, n.d

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Occasions for Diriment, 1962

                 Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Surreal, 1959

 

 

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