Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959), [Group photo, Heber Springs, Arkansas], 1930s (2014.65.7)
Disfarmer’s photos are well-known and sometimes well-used. They are small, often about 4 1/2 x 3 inches. And always portraits, usually of one or perhaps a pair of people, presumably the residents of Heber Springs, Arkansas. This photo, a recent acquisition, at 5 x 6 15/16 inches, and in a paper frame, 7 3/4 x 9 inches, is different than the other 872 Disfarmer photos in the ICP archive. Being different is good. Apparently Mike Disfarmer (born Mike Meyer or Meyers) was different than the other residents of Heber Springs.
“Disfarmer was not a particularly social individual, and little is known about his life. Around 1930, when a tornado killed his mother and destroyed his house, he built a new studio on Main Street, and established himself as the town photographer. He tended to keep to himself, and was considered strange and eccentric by many townspeople.”
Source: Lisa Hostetler. Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 214