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The Notion of Family

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Aperture

Publication date : 2016/12/01
Poids 1000 g / Dimensions 24 x 27.5 cm / en
ISBN 9781597113816

LaToya Frazier’s first monograph, The Notion of Family, documents the decline of Braddock, Pennsylvania—a once-prosperous steel-mill town that employed generations of African American workers—alongside the hardships of Frazier’s family, who grew up there. Issues of class and race underscore the mostly black-and-white photographs in the collection, which is arranged as a kind of family album: intimate, collaboratively produced portraits of Frazier and her mother in mirrors and on beds, are presented with derelict scenes of collapsed buildings, vacant lots, and boarded-up stores.

Twelve years in the making, the work compellingly sets her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. Since beginning the work as a teenager, Frazier has enlisted the participation of her family—and her mother in particular. These images acknowledge and expand upon the traditions of classic black-and-white documentary photography, and are themselves transformative acts, resetting traditional power dynamics and narratives, both those of her family and those of the community at large.

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