The Vintage Prints

Edwynn Houk Gallery and powerHouse Books, New York, 234 pages, hardbound. 60.00

The legendary Mike Disfarmer is considered one of the great portraitist in the history of photography. As the resident studio photographer in tiny Heber Springs, Arkansas, he captured the faces of the American heartland at a defining time in history in which the Great Depression yielded to World War II, and the sons of the farm donned their country's uniform and headed off to foreign shores. He was also a true American eccentric: born Mike Meyer in 1884, he legally changed his name to Disfarmer to disassociate himself, not only from the farming community in which he plied his trade, but from his own kinfolk-claiming that a tornado had accidentally blown him onto the Meyer family as a baby.

Previously, Disfarmer's work was known only from a cache of glass-plate negatives that had been salvaged from his studio after his death. This book presents Disfarmer's original vintage prints for the very first time. It is the culmination of an unprecedented two-year historical reclamation project in which a dedicated team of researchers scoured every family album in every home along every dirt road in Cleburne County, Arkansas.

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