About the Photographer
Frazier, LaToya Ruby
American, b. 1982
LaToya Ruby Frazier has spent the last twelve years extensively documenting the economic and social struggles of her family and community in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Her pictures are bluntly autobiographical, showing her grandmother, her mother, and herself—three generations of women whose familial history traces the decline of industrial American cities. Frazier’s grandmother lived in Braddock when it was home to a vibrant and prosperous steel industry, her mother witnessed the closing of many steel mills and the subsequent economic catastrophe, and Frazier watched members of her community succumb to drug addiction, poverty, and terminal illness caused by massive industrial pollution.
Photographs made by Frazier—sometimes in collaboration with or authored by her mother—tell the family story. A dialog about identity as it pertains to self, family, and community emerges alongside a nuanced portrait of the shifting circumstances of blue-collar America within this project. To create this narrative, Frazier blends two approaches—social documentary photography and conceptual art—and characterizes complex, intergenerational struggles as both participant and author.