An optician from Lexington, Ky., Meatyard had a lifelong interest in visual perception.
An antiquarian and forager, he made violet jam and elderberry wine and kept a list of unusual or funny names gathered from a London phone book. Extremely well-read, he was connected to a circle of poets and writers that included Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton and Guy Davenport, and his work is rich in literary allusions.
Dolls and masks were a predominant theme of his work and he often photographed his wife and three children posing in abandoned houses and landscapes around his home in Lexington. Surreal and complex, his images dwell on contrasts between youth and age, childhood and immortality, familiarity and strangeness, innocence and corruption, the accessible and the hidden.