Congratulations LaToya Ruby Frazier on your first book! It’s been an honor to see this work grow in the last 9ish years. Beautifully printed and definitely filling a gap in the photo world
The Notion of Family
Photographs by LaToya Ruby FrazierInterview by Dawoud Bey Essays by Laura Wexler and Dennis C. DickersonIn this, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political—an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region. Frazier has compellingly set her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work documents her own struggles and interactions with family and the expectations of community, and includes the documentation of the demise of Braddock’s only hospital, reinforcing the idea that the history of a place is frequently written on the body as well as the landscape. With The Notion of Family, Frazier knowingly acknowledges and expands upon the traditions of classic black-and-white documentary photography, enlisting the participation of her family—and her mother in particular. As Frazier says, her mother is “coauthor, artist, photographer, and subject. Our relationship primarily exists through a process of making images together. I see beauty in all her imperfections and abuse.” In the creation of these collaborative works, Frazier reinforces the idea of art and image-making as a transformative act, a means of resetting traditional power dynamics and narratives, both those of her family and those of the community at large.
LaToya Ruby Frazier (born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1982) received her BFA in photography and graphic design in 2004 at Edinboro University, Pennsylvania, and her MFA in 2007 from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, New York. In 2011, Frazier completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and shortly thereafter was appointed Critic in Photography at the Yale University School of Art. She has received numerous grants and awards, including a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been included in exhibitions at major institutions worldwide.
Dawoud Bey (interview) is well-known for his own work as a photographer and has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including a mid-career survey at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 1995. He is a professor of art and a Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.
Laura Wexler (essay) is professor and co-chair of the Women’s Faculty Forum at Yale University, as well as the founder and director of the Photographic Memory Workshop at Yale. Her books include the award-winning Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U. S. Imperialism (2000).
Dennis C. Dickerson (essay) is the James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of several titles focusing on American labor history and the civil rights movement, including Out of the Crucible: Black Steel Workers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875–1980 (1986).
Not seen Atta Kwami’s stunning Kumasi Realism?
Here’s a quick look at what’s inside to whet your appetite.
Above: Amadou Camara Gueye, “Untitled”, 2013. Amadou was born in Bignona, Senegal in 1968.
Discover more artists in the post, 1-54 African Art Fair, A Visual Grid of Art by the 111 Artists Exhibiting
Colonialism tried to control the memory of the colonized; or, rather, in the words of Caribbean thinker Sylvia Wynter, it tried to subject the colonized to its memory, to make the colonized see themselves through the hegemonic memory of the colonizing center. Put another way, the colonizing presence sought to induce a historical amnesia on the colonized by mutilating the memory of the colonized; and where that failed, it dismembered it, and then tried to re-member it to the colonizer’s memory—to his way of defining the world, including his take on the nature of the relations between colonizer and colonized.
NGŨGĨ WA THIONG’O - SOMETHING TORN AND NEW (via arobynsong)
stills from petra noordkamp’s short film arcadia (2014). noordkamp aims to “capture and to enlarge the feeling of desolation” she encountered when she visited the town of gibellina, sicily.
In 1968, the Belice Valley in western Sicily was devastated by an earthquake. Gibellina suffered the worst destruction: no building was left intact, and the homeless lived in prefabricated buildings for more than 10 years. Gibellina Nuova was rebuilt 20 kilometers from the previous town.
Ludovico Corrao, mayor of Gibellina at the time, wanted to keep the tight-knit community together, and developed the project ‘Dream in Progress’. Prestigious city planners, architects and leading Italian artists were called in to contribute to this new town, creating together a city of modern art. Gibellina features beautiful buildings and works of art, but most areas of the city bear little relation to one another, and this creates an atmosphere of severe alienation.
dipping into an old copy of apartamento magazine for visual inspiration. graphic designer atsuki kikuchi designed covers for japanese food magazine shun ga marugoto, focusing on just one ingredient every issue.
Each issue of Shun Ga Marugoto was about one ingredient, like cabbage, tomato, lemon, or eggplant. They made 30 issues between 2007 and 2012, but they’re on hiatus now. Usually magazines offer lots of different information about different things, but Shun Ga Marugoto was more pragmatic and tried to show the connected points of one ingredient through different types of content. When I designed it I made the name of the special ingredient look like the name of the magazine and made the magazine title tiny. I thought it was funny and weird to see just the word, or noun, like ‘cabbage’ , lined up in the magazine stand..
'Album Beauty', an exhibition of found photographs curated by Erik Kessels, is an ode to the vanishing era of the photo album. Once commonplace in every home, the photo-album has been replaced by the digital age where images are now jpegs and live online and in hard drives. These visual narratives are testament to the once universal appeal to document and display the mundane. Often a repository for family history, they usually represent a manufactured family as edited for display. The albums speak of birth, death, beauty, sexuality, pride, happiness, youth, competition, exploration, complicity and friendship.
Curated by Erik Kessels in collaboration with Foam Amsterdam.
Photographer Viviane Sassen shoots South America for UNSEEN Photography Fair Amsterdam here
EXHIBITION: Black Chronicles II at Rivington Place, London, UK from September 12 – November 29, 2014
Autograph ABP presents Black Chronicles II, a new exhibition exploring black presences in 19th and early 20th century Britain, through the prism of photography – particularly studio portraiture. The exhibition presents over 200 photographs, which present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record.
Samuel Fosso at Walther Collection, New York from September 12, 2014 – January 17, 2015
The Walther Collection presents a survey of works by Samuel Fosso, one of the most renowned contemporary artists working in Africa. Since the mid-1970s, Fosso has focused on self-portraiture by transforming his body through performance, envisioning variations on African identity in the postcolonial era. His early experimental works and later series create a new imagery opposed to both the ethnographic visions of Africa and the commercial imperatives of studio portraiture.