Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, 1925–1972, was born in Normal, Illinois in 1925 and lived in Lexington, Kentucky, where he made his living as an optician. In 1954, Meatyard joined the Lexington Camera Club.  Cranston Ritchie and Van Deren Coke, both members of the club, became important mentors and inspiring models in Meatyard’s work. Working outside of the photographic mainstream, Meatyard experimented with multiple exposures, motion blur, and other methods of photographic abstraction. Meatyard’s photographs often include family members enacting symbolic dramas, often set in abandoned places.  His final series, The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, completed shortly before he died in 1972, pays homage to his beloved family and talented friends. Monographs include A Fourfold Vision, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard: The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater and Other Figurative Photographs, among others.  In 2005–2006 an exhibition of over 150 of his photographs was shown at the International Center for Photography in New York and at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson.  In 2010, his work was included in an exhibition at the Pavillon Populaire, Galerie d’Art Photographique de la ville de Montpellier in France. In 2011, The Art Institute of Chicago has organized an exhibition. Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls & Masks was accompanied by a publication and traveled to the deYoung Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Lucybelle Crater and her P.O. brother Lucybelle Crater, 1970-72, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, ca. 1957-58, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, 1967, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, 1959, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, 1959, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, 1962, gelatin-silver print
Untitled, 1963, gelatin-silver print


Fraenkel Gallery Exhibitions


Select Museum Exhibitions

Dolls and Masks

de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco