LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Notion of Family

Laura Wexler, Dennis Dickerson

Published by Aperture
ISBN 10: 1597112488 / ISBN 13: 9781597112482
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Synopsis: In this, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier (born 1982) offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America's small towns, as embodied by Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier's hometown. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political--an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region that are dominated by stories of Andrew Carnegie and Pittsburgh's industrial past, but largely ignore those of black families and the working classes. Frazier has set her story of three generations--her Grandma Ruby, her mother and herself--against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work also documents the demise of Braddock's only hospital, reinforcing the idea that the history of a place is frequently written on the body as well as the landscape. With The Notion of Family, Frazier knowingly acknowledges and expands upon the traditions of classic black-and-white documentary photography, enlisting the participation of her family, and her mother in particular. As Frazier says, her mother is "co-author, artist, photographer and subject. Our relationship primarily exists through a process of making images together. I see beauty in all her imperfections and abuse." Frazier's work reinforces the idea of image-making as a transformative act, a means of resetting traditional power dynamics and narratives, both those of her family and those of the community at large. Frazier is a 2014 Guggenheim fellow.

About the Author: LaToya Ruby Frazier (born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1982) received her BFA from Edinboro University, Pennsylvania, in 2004, and her MFA from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, New York, in 2007. She has received numerous grants and awards, including a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2014 USA Weitz Fellowship, and 2015 MacArthur Fellowship. Frazier teaches in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a visiting critic at Yale University. Her work has been included in exhibitions at major institutions worldwide.

Dennis C. Dickerson is the James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of several titles focusing on American labor history and the civil rights movement, including Out of the Crucible: Black Steel Workers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875–1980 (1986).

Laura Wexler is a professor of American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University, as well as the founder and director of the Photographic Memory Workshop at Yale. Her books include the award-winning Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism (2000).

Dawoud Bey is well-known for his work as a photographer, and has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including a mid-career survey at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 1995. He is a professor of art and a Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.

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Title: LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Notion of Family
Publisher: Aperture
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: GOOD

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