An optician by trade, Ralph Eugene Meatyard was a self-described “dedicated amateur” photographer.  He 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 1950s, he began incorporating monstrous, oversized latex masks and hands into his photographs, in addition to plastic dolls. His family and friends were the protagonists in his carefully composed scenes. For Meatyard, who was inspired by literature, 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.

Press Releases

News Posts