Portrait of LaToya Ruby Frazier by Steve Benisty

LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier (b. 1982, Braddock, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary visual artist whose multidisciplinary commentary on North American experience has had a powerful influence upon the art world, and upon the humanitarian causes her work illuminates.

Encompassing photography, video, performance and installation, LaToyas strong sense of empathy and propensity for collaboration ensures her artistic voice maintains an expert subtlety, steering the trajectory and aesthetics of her projects while ensuring overlooked perspectives are highlighted irrefutably.

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Inspired by the U.S. photojournalist Gordon Parks (1912 – 2006, mostly active from the 1940s to 1970s), deftly crafted storytelling – in all its social, political, and artistic significance – forms the foundation of her entire body of work.

Now considered one of the leading women in photography, LaToya began taking photographs at the age of 16, initially of her family and hometown. Revising the documentary traditions of legendary photographers such as Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, known for their Great Depression-era photographs commissioned by the FSA (Farm Security Administration), LaToyas work focuses squarely on enabling her subjects to make themselves seen and heard on their own terms.

Growing up in Braddock, LaToya has reported facing what she terms global issuessuch as environmental racism, healthcare inequity, and climatic degradation throughout her upbringing.

The Notion of Family (2014), her first book, charts her experiences, alongside those of her mother and grandmother. The book won the International Center for Photography Infinity Award.

Throwing into sharp relief the ways in which systemic failings disproportionately affect the lives of marginalised groups has become the hallmark of LaToyas practice; in her words, Braddock is everywhere.

La Toyas work goes beyond the page or gallery wall, creating tangible impact. In 2016, she was commissioned to produce a photo essay about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Echoing her earlier work, her intention became to photograph three generations of women in the same family, dealing with the crisis on a daily basis.

Embedding herself into the life of Shea Cobb, an activist, artist, poet, and bus driver, LaToya witnessed first hand the shocking reality of the situation; while Michigan residents faced some of the highest water bills in the U.S., their water supply was contaminated by the deadly legionella virus.

Aware that a photo essay alone would not create lasting impact, LaToya amplified the reach of The Sister Tour – an arts collective for Flint artists created by Shea and another collaborator, Amber Hasan – via her Flint is Family solo exhibition in New York.

Assisting with fundraising to increase the mobility of The Sister Tours eye-opening work, LaToya also kept the spotlight on the crisis by creating countdown flagswhich were displayed at institutional buildings across the country.

Pioneering the campaign for change, LaToya donated all revenue from Flint is Family to financing an atmospheric water generator, invented by Moses West, which now produces 2,000 gallons of clean drinking water a day for the people of Flint.

Aside from her activism, LaToyas work is critically acclaimed. She has achieved several prestigious accolades including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Edinboro University (2019); an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (2017); fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundations MacArthur Fellows Program (2015), TED Fellows (2015), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2014); and the Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Prize from the Seattle Art Museum (2013).

She is an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently lives and works.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

The Last Cruze

In a series between photographer and community, LaToya Ruby Frazier explores the fallout of a factory’s closure in her series ‘The Last Cruze’....

LaToya Ruby Frazier Hundred Heroines Women In Photography

LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier combines photography, video and performance art to focus on racism, environmental issues and deindustrialization....

Connect with LaToya | latoyarubyfrazier.com

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