“Genius Grant” Photographer Uses Camera as Weapon Against Racism

LaToya Ruby Frazier, a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, documents three generations of Blackness in a decaying steel mill town

By LaToya Cross

“This is not an art project.”
But rather the collection of over 100 photographs is the life of photographer and Art Institute of Chicago instructor, LaToya Ruby Frazier.

Inspired by Gordon Parks’ ideology of using the camera as a “weapon” to fight against racism, poverty and social wrongs, Frazier has spent the last 12 years focusing her lens on the collapse of the once booming steel mill industry in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Titled, Notion of Family, the visual documentation also addresses and counters the “historic erasure, silence and media portrayal that trivialized and undermined Black life,” Frazier explains.

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Courtesy of Ebony

Aunt Midgie and Grandma Ruby, 2007