04 March 2011

Photography: Mike Disfarmer

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There was a bit of buzz about this week's photography spotlight about a year and a half ago after The Sartorialist mentioned him as an artistic inspiration. Viewing the photos you can certainly see why. Mike Disfarmer's photographs predate street style photography by several decades and give an amazing glimpse into fashion and lives of people from early 20th century Arkansas (Starr, these made me think of you!).

Not only are the photos lovely to look at, Mr. Disfarmer was quite a character to behold as well. Born Mike Meyers in 1884 he changed his surname to Disfarmer (meaning "not a farmer) to rebel against his immigrant family's way of life. He even claimed to have been deposited into the Meyer's family via tornado! Ironically, after an actual tornado destroyed his family's home he set up a studio on Main Street and invited local townspeople and passers-through to be photographed.

He used glass plate negatives, a method that was considered out-dated at the time, leaving behind images that are rich and detailed. He never posed or prompted his subject resulting in images that give a very honest glimpse into the lives of his subjects.

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14 comments:

Steffy's Pro's and Con's said...

i love pictures that look like this, it is like peeking into my grandparents photo albums. so cool!


<3 steffy
steffysprosandconsblogspot.com

Sara said...

So neat! I like these pics very much :)

Nuria said...

Hi Sally Jane. My name is Nuria and I write from Valencia (Spain). I love vintage and I would like to contribute my little grain of sand with a few things that I discover in my way. My desire is to open an etsy shop and want to make things right. I have a very big question and I thought you could help me. The question is...how to take measurements of the garments to be as accurate as possible? With the dress on the mannequin? With the dress lying on a flat surface? in this case, is stretching the garment? Your advice is very important to me because you have a great experience and I wanted to ask someone I admire. Thank you very much and send you a hug

BaronessVonVintage said...

fascinating, riveting

SophieSweetVintage said...

What a great photographer!

Lexie, Little Boat said...

the last picture made me smile. these are wonderful.

beetree said...

What wonderful pictures! I love looking at the faces- you can see so much. I love that they aren't posed- a perfect historical snapshot!

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

these are so much fun to look at. thanks so much for sharing them.

naomemandeflores said...

I adore all the outfits!


Camila F.

Caitlin Rose said...

Thank you for posting this. it's so amazing that we can see into the lives of people from so long ago!

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The Thriftaholic (Leilani) said...

I'm originally from Arkansas and always hoped I'd come across a Disfarmer in some out of the way junk shop. No luck yet but I do appreciate looking at them online (and in book form).

bigbrownhouse said...

If you haven't already, you might want to check out Bill Frisell's album "Disfarmer"...music inspired by the work and life of the very eccentric man. It's moody, folky, old-timey Americana...and also very contemporary.

Michael said...

Where are these wonderful pictures from? Are they from a website with others?

Thanks!