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Untitled (#7), ca. 1957

Gelatin silver print
7 × 7 1/4 in
17.8 × 18.4 cm
This is a unique work.
Permanent collection
About the work
Provenance
Image rights
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
American, 1925–1972
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By vocation an optician, by avocation a self-described “dedicated amateur” photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard pursued his own vision to produce an exquisitely enigmatic, widely admired body of work. Meatyard began taking photographs in 1950, roaming the backwoods and towns in Kentucky, experimenting with framing, multiple exposures, and blurring to produce haunting, abstracted images of natural and manmade environments. In the late ’50s, he began incorporating monstrous, oversized latex masks and hands, and plastic dolls into his photographs. His family and friends were the protagonists in his carefully composed scenes, their heads consumed by the masks, plastic dolls often arranged about them. For Meatyard, who was inspired by Zen Buddhism and jazz, the masks served to equalize his subjects and shift focus elsewhere—to the poignant juxtaposition of otherworldly faces on human bodies, to the ambiguous and unknowable in human nature.

Save
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view
View in room
share
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Save
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view
View in room
share
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About the work
Provenance
Image rights
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
American, 1925–1972
Follow

By vocation an optician, by avocation a self-described “dedicated amateur” photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard pursued his own vision to produce an exquisitely enigmatic, widely admired body of work. Meatyard began taking photographs in 1950, roaming the backwoods and towns in Kentucky, experimenting with framing, multiple exposures, and blurring to produce haunting, abstracted images of natural and manmade environments. In the late ’50s, he began incorporating monstrous, oversized latex masks and hands, and plastic dolls into his photographs. His family and friends were the protagonists in his carefully composed scenes, their heads consumed by the masks, plastic dolls often arranged about them. For Meatyard, who was inspired by Zen Buddhism and jazz, the masks served to equalize his subjects and shift focus elsewhere—to the poignant juxtaposition of otherworldly faces on human bodies, to the ambiguous and unknowable in human nature.

Untitled (#7), ca. 1957

Gelatin silver print
7 × 7 1/4 in
17.8 × 18.4 cm
This is a unique work.
Permanent collection
Other works by Ralph Eugene Meatyard
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