"Born Mike Meyer, he changed his surname to "Disfarmer" possibly to break with his family's agrarian roots, the first move in a maverick career that embraced both obscurity and a rigorous aesthetic. Disfarmer maintained a portrait studio in his hometown of Heber Springs, Arkansas, and photographed members of the local community for small fees. But his "penny portraits" were far more than mere keepsake photographs. Employing a stark realism and often lengthy, unnervingly mute sitting sessions, Disfarmer produced a consistent stream of portraits that, according to some, strip his subjects into an uncanny intimacy. His photographs are said by some to capture the essence of a particular community in a particular time with piercing solemnity and a touching simplicity. His reclusive lifestyle has left many details of his life obscure or uncertain."