Latoya Ruby Frazier is one of the four finalists selected for the 2013 AIMIA AGO Photography Prize. Frazier was born in Braddock, Pennsylvania. She received a BFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, an MFA from Syracuse University and participated in the 2011 Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Her work has been exhibited at many institutions including the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum and MoMA PS1. She is the appointed critic in photography at Yale University.
Frazier’s work harks back to a time when photography wasn’t as concerned with formal aspects and grandiosity. Stylistically, her work recalls documentary photographers such as Walker Evans and other depression-era photographers who recorded the bleak, broken and human aspects of American life.
Frazier grew up in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a town that is suffering from the economic downturn, polluted by former industries, and affected by the crack epidemic. The pollution from the steel mills, that no longer provides the town with necessary jobs, has left the inhabitants of Braddock with a myriad of severe health problems. Frazier herself suffers from attacks of Lupus.
It is the wake of these epidemics that Frazier documents and produces on gelatin silver prints. She sensitively captures the intimate moments of her family and the city, suffering in poverty, and illness. It is Frazier’s introspective lens, which examines the importance of acknowledging the pedestrian resonance of these greater issues, that makes her work so impactful.
For the next few weeks, I will be featuring each of the shortlisted artists for the AIMIA AGO Photography Prize. Check back for features on Edgardo Aragón, Chino Otsuka and Erin Shirreff.