LaToya Ruby Frazier is the only photographer among the 24 winners of the prestigious 2015 MacArthur Fellow Program by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“I’m overjoyed to receive this award because often, when you’re a young black woman talking about inequality, people don’t take you seriously,” [Frazier] says. “It’s validation to my work being a testimony and a fight for social justice and cultural change.”
Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. The crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, forms the backdrop of her images, which make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live amongst it.