The eccentric photographer known as Disfarmer (1884-1959) seemed to be a man determined to shroud himself in mystery. Born Mike Meyers, the sixth of seven children in a German immigrant family, Disfarmer rejected the Arkansas farming world and the family in which he was raised. He even claimed at one point in his life that a tornado had lifted him up from places unknown and deposited him into the Meyers family.
In time Mike expressed his discontent with his family and farming by changing his name to Disfarmer. In modern German “meier” means dairy farmer, and since he thought of himself as neither a “Meyer” nor a “farmer,” Mike Meyer became “dis”- farmer. *
I fucking love him. Even before I knew about his made-up name, I fell in love with him. The photo above just stopped me in my tracks. Unlike Diane Arbus, he doesn’t seem to be unduly drawn to the grotesque. But he does manage to create an almost alarming sense of intimacy.
Explore his work here.