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LaToya Ruby Frazier on The Notion of Family

We sat down with LaToya Ruby Frazier to discuss the realization of her first book, The Notion of Family, which 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.

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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