Renowned photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier will present the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Lecture on Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m. at the Akron Art Museum. Frazier is known for her photographs that document the social and economic shifts following the industrial decline of her hometown, Braddock, Penn., along with the damage the local steel plant has inflicted on her health and that of her relatives. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Akron Art Museum Associate Curator Theresa Bembnister said, “In her photography, LaToya Ruby Frazier uses depictions of herself or her mother and grandmother in their own homes to speak to both personal and societal issues. She’s keenly aware of how documentary photography has historically neglected the viewpoints and voices of its often disenfranchised subjects, and she creates her images in a way that gives creative agency to the individuals being photographed by inviting their active participation.”
Born in Braddock, Penn., Frazier holds a bachelor’s degree in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in art photography from Syracuse University. She has studied under the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and is an Associate Professor of Photography at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first book, “The Notion of Family,” received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award. Frazier has received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2017 Akron Art Museum Knight Purchase Award. Her work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally.
Frazier discusses how she has used photography to fight injustice—poverty, healthcare and gender inequality, environmental contamination, racism and more—and create a more representative self-portrait. Drawing from The Notion of Family as well as from works of art by Frederick Douglass, August Sander, Julia Margaret Cameron and Langston Hughes, she relates her conscious approach to photography, opens up more authentic ways to talk about family, inheritance and place, and celebrates the inspirational, transformative power of images.
The Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Lecture is an annual guest lectureship in photography and photographic media that includes significant time to workshop with or critique work of University of Akron Mary Schiller Myers School of Art students. The lecture is held at the Akron Art Museum and is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.
For more info about LaToya Ruby Frazier’s lecture at the Akron Art Museum, visit AkronArtMuseum.org.