Our next selection is a first for P4P on two counts: Our first guest who is a MacArthur Genius Award Winner. And our first photo book!
Our next selection is the award winning The Notion Of Family by LaToya Ruby Frazier. The book is a powerful exploration of LaToya’s hometown of Braddock PA, the home of the first Carnegie steel mill which opened in 1875.
The book powerfully takes the viewer into LaToya’s family and hometown. In the video she made after receiving the MacArthur Foundation 2015 Genius Award, LaToya says three things I wanted to share as we get ready to examine her book:
I make work that deals with the intersection of the steel industry, environmental racism and the health care crisis.
There aren’t many stories about African American families from Braddock. There’s no recognition paid to the labor and the lives that were given to the factory and the town.
I think that it’s important to use the camera when you’re dealing with these things that we erase, and avoid and pretend that aren’t there. It’ s my job and duty to be a witness to what’s happening.
Give a look and listen to this video of LaToya talking about The Notion of Family and her reaction to receiving the MacArthur Foundation Grant.
(It you do not see the video screen, you can view it through this link.)
LaToya Ruby Frazier’s profile from the MacArthur Foundation is at the end of the post. You can get a copy of The Notion of Family directly from the publisher, Aperture.
Politics for the People Conference Call
With LaToya Ruby Frazier
Sunday, December 6th at 7 pm EST
CALL IN NUMBER
Meet the 2015 MacArthur Fellows
These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.
LaToya Ruby Frazier
Photographer and Video Artist
Assistant Professor, Department of Photography
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Published September 28, 2015
The Notion of Family, a series of unflinching black-and-white photographs, shows her mother, grandmother, and the artist herself in a Braddock unmoored by disinvestment and demographic decline. Frazier’s stark portraits underscore the connection between self and physical space and make visible the consequences of neglect and abandonment—unemployment, environmental health crises, and lack of access to services—for Braddock’s historically marginalized working-class African American community. In a photolithograph and silkscreen print series from 2011, entitled Campaign for Braddock Hospital (“Save Our Community Hospital”), Frazier sets up an ironic juxtaposition between upbeat consumer capitalism and the challenges of working people. Images of Braddock from a 2010 Levi Strauss campaign bearing the slogan “Ready to Work” are set in counterpoint to quotes from Braddock residents about the closure of the town’s only hospital—and its principal employer—that same year.
In more recent photographic work, Frazier documents Braddock from the skies in full-color aerial shots that record the extensive transformations of a community after years of economic collapse. Frazier’s uncompromising and moving work illustrates how contemporary photography can open conversations about American history, class structures, and social responsibility.
LaToya Ruby Frazier received a B.F.A. (2004) from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. (2007) from Syracuse University. She held artist residencies at the Lower Manhattan Culture Council (2009–2010) and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (2010–2011) and was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin (2013–2014) before assuming her current position as assistant professor in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Frazier’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, including solo shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. The Notion of Family, Frazier’s first book, was published in 2014.
– See more at: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/937/#sthash.6Dp70TiR.dpuf