University of New Mexico Art Museum
As portraits change hands from photographer to client, from loved one to loved one, from family to gallery, what does this mean for the thing itself?
Remnants: Photographs from the Disfarmer Studio looks at the material history of portraits from the Arkansas studio of Mike Disfarmer. This exhibition traces the physical life of photographs from the darkroom to the family album, to the museum archive. Each Disfarmer photograph has a long and storied life, far beyond the sitter's life or the photographer’s posthumous fame.
The first publication to present Disfarmer's vintage prints, Mike Disfarmer: Original Disfarmer Photographs, gathers together iconic photographs that were at once family mementos and the original work of one of America's greatest portraitists. Disfarmer spent half a century making studio portraits at pennies a picture to satisfy his rural clients, and creating a style of portraiture all his own. As one subject describes its genesis, "There wasn't much of a greeting when you walked in, I'll tell you that. Instead of telling you to smile, he just took the picture. No cheese or anything."