Michael Disfarmer

(Chicago, Illinois, 1884 - 1959, Heber Springs, Arkansas)


c. 1940

Gelatin silver print

5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (14.0 x 8.9 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of George Stephanopoulos


More Information

<SPAN STYLE="font-family:'HelveticaNeueLT Std Cn'">Mike Disfarmer operated a portrait studio in Heber Springs, Arkansas, for more than four decades. At one time a thriving tourist destination, Heber Springs declined economically following the onset of the Depression. Reliant on walk-in traffic for his clientele, Disfarmer printed many of his images as small photographic postcards, a format his patrons favored. Disfarmer placed his subjects against one of two plain backgrounds, reputedly never told them to smile and was known to remain completely silent throughout extended portrait sessions. However, the placement of the arms and hands of his figures suggest Disfarmer may have intervened in determining their poses. Disfarmer’s depictions of mothers with babies, siblings and families offer compelling insights into individual relationships in this small southern farming town.</SPAN>

Black and White