About the Photographer
Mexican, b. 1935 Spain
All my images are about documentary experiences – not fabricating them. The experience in a traditional photographic representation has been limited (though in truth the camera sees more than we do, and therefore is not limited at all) to those elements the lens was able to capture. To the silver halides or dyes, I now can add my own memory.
— Pedro Meyer, 1995
"Plantation, El Centro, California" was part of the exhibition Truths & fictions: A Journey From Documentary to Digital Photography, a collection of work which toured from 1994 through 1997 and was published in both book and CD-ROM form in 1995. Truths and Fictions groups together what might more commonly be called straight and digitally-altered images but which Meyer refers to as found and made images. This arrangement calls into question the origin of all the pictures, questioning the veracity of each and highlighting the fact that photographs are less true as documents than as representations of how we understand the world. That is to say, Meyer does not change his pictures in order to deceive, but in order to point out things we might otherwise never see. Truth, as interpreted by Meyer, is nothing so cold as impartial documentation or the unmediated record of a machine. Rather, it is a fidelity to personal response and its attendant perceptions and interpretations. The base image of "Plantation, El Centro, California" is a found image from 1987, the year in which a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship allowed Meyer to travel and photograph across the United States. The final picture takes advantage of digital tools to create an image which suggests memory and the connection between people and the places they live.
Pedro Meyer was born on October 6, 1935 in Madrid, Spain. He emigrated with his family to Mexico in 1937 and became a Mexican citizen in 1942. Meyer began teaching himself photography with a second-hand twin-lens camera he received for his 13th birthday. He earned a BA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusets in 1953. The first retrospective of his work was held in 1973 at the Instituto Mexicano-Norteamericano de Relaciones Culturales de la Ciudad de México. Solo exhibitions of Meyer's work have been presented in countries around the world, including Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, USA, Nicaragua, Spain, Italy, France, Finland, Venezuela, and England. He acquired his first personal computer in 1983, and in 1990 devoted himself to learning all the new digital image-making techniques. In 1991, using macromedia Director 1.0, Meyer published what has been cited as the first CD-ROM to feature both photographs and sound, I Photograph to Remember. He is also responsible for developing techniques for printing photographs on artist's paper using the Iris Ink Jet printer. Meyer created the Latin American Colloquiums of Photography and founded the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía (Mexican Council of Photography). More recently, he has devoted himself to information regarding digital imaging through the ZoneZero website he created and maintains.
Meyer, Pedro. I Photograph to Remember. CD-ROM. New York: Voyager, 1991.
Meyer, Pedro. Truths & Fictions/Verdades y Ficciones. CD-ROM. New York:
Meyer, Pedro. Truths & Fictions. New York: Aperture, 1995.