“A VERY HOMELY, FRIENDLY, NEIGHBORLY SORT OF BOOK”
(MEATYARD, Ralph Eugene). The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater. (Millerton, New York: Jargon Society, 1974). Slim quarto, original black cloth, original photographic dust jacket. $1250.
First edition of this “forthright and loopy” album of “snapshots of everybody,” with 64 rich photogravures.
Meatyard’s work was regarded by his peers as “among the most original and disturbing imagery ever created with a camera… His best known images were populated with dolls and masks, with family, friends and neighbors pictured in abandoned buildings or in ordinary suburban backyards… Meatyard created a mode of ‘no-focus’ imagery that was distinctly his own. ‘No-focus’ images ran entirely counter to any association of camera art with objective realism and opened a new sense of creative freedom in his art” (Masters of Photography). This is the posthumous publication of one of the last productions Meatyard was able to complete before his death in 1972. Lucybelle Crater is comprised of “snapshots” of Meatyard’s family and friends, hidden always behind the masks of Lucybelle and her constant companion, 46-year-old husband, also named “Lucybelle Crater.” One can visualize “above the heads of Lucybelle & friends, a comic-strip bubble that is pure virgin white for us to fill in” (Jonathan Greene). “This book, in a way, is Meatyard’s purest statement… In its forthrightness and its gothic loopiness, it manages to illuminate two truths simultaneously: that we are all the same, really; and that we are all different, under the masks” (Roth, 230).