About the Photographer
Michael Disfarmer was a portrait photographer who worked out of his studio in his home town of Herber Springs, Arkansas. Charging .25-.50 cents per sitting, Disfarmer’s portraits served to provide the rural community with keepsake photographs of their family and friends. Evident in the austere manner of his sitters, Disfarmer’s portraits have a simple, distinctive style that grew even more restrained over his 40-year career. After his prints were discovered almost 20 years after his death, they are now noted for their cultural significance as a record of the rural community in Arkansas. Known for his eccentric personality, Disfarmer was a lifelong loner and an outsider in his community. Born with the name Mike Meyer, he legally changed his name to “Disfarmer” to distance himself from his own German immigrant family, as well as the same farming community he made a living photographing. Over 3,000 glass plate negatives and 3,400 original photographs and have surfaced spanning Disfarmer’s entire career, from 1917-1956.