Charles A. Meyer
April 8 – June 6, 2010
An opening reception is April 8, 6-8 PM.
Each year since 2005, Charles A. Meyer has photographed the Annual Mule Auction in Dickson, Tennessee.
“I am drawn to this small rural gathering; the culture, the social dynamics, and the mules themselves constitute a unique setting that I have not encountered elsewhere,” he says. “Each time I return, the work evolves and I am able to explore in greater depth both the visual possibilities and the human element.”
Dickson Mule Auction, 2005-2010, a series of his photographs, is featured at the Griffin Museum at Digital Silver Imaging in Belmont, MA, April 8 through June 6. An opening reception is April 8, 6-8 PM.
Mules, Meyer explains, are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. They are bred as domesticated work animals, their size determined largely by the size of the mother. They have the strength of a donkey and the speed and trainability of a horse.
Most mules are reared to work in teams, with elaborate harnesses. They are sold in pairs for fieldwork and carriage pulling, and as pack animals and trail mounts.
The three-day event in Dickson is the oldest and largest mule auction in the country. Buyers and sellers come from around the country, including Western dude ranchers, Amish and Mennonites seeking field animals, and local buyers.
“Most come year after year and, for many, it’s a reunion of sorts,” says Meyer. “They are an independent lot, mostly self-employed, and many act as both breeder and owner. They come together in Dickson to discuss mules and whatever else comes to mind.”
A photographer and filmmaker, Meyer is an adjunct associate professor of photography in the fine arts department at Boston College. He has also held appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hampshire College, and was the Harnish Visiting Artist in Photography at Smith College. His work has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries.
Meyer’s work in film includes the PBS television specials Civil War and Baseball by Ken Burns. He recently served as associate producer and photographer for a four-part film series on conflict resolution in war-torn areas of the world.