With Her Camera, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Tells An African American Rust Belt Story

Below is an NPR interview with LaToya Ruby Fraizer from September 29th, 2015 on All Things Considered.

 

(If the audio does not appear in your email, either come on over to the blog or you can listen to the interview through this link.)

Grandma Ruby on Her Recliner, 2002

Frazier’s grandmother grew up in Braddock in the 1930s and ’40s, when “it was prosperous and a melting pot,” Frazier says. Here is what Frazier shared with NPR host Ari Shapiro about making this photograph:

It was just one of those powerful, stoic, transcending moments. My grandmother Ruby was a woman of very few words, was very serious, didn’t like to talk about the past. … So I’m leaning over her, she’s in her recliner. She really didn’t like me to make photographs, she only cooperated on maybe five or six, and this was one of them. And so it’s a Saturday afternoon where I’m leaning over her with my 35 mm camera and we just pause and she actually looks into the lens, but she’s really looking, gazing through the lens directly at me, almost like she’s transferring some type of history without speaking a word. And as she looks at me intensely with that pensive stare, I clicked the shutter.

The selection of photos below from The Notion of Family were those chosen for viewing on the NPR website alongside the interview.

  • LaToya Ruby Frazier has been taking pictures of her hometown and family for two decades. Pictured here: Huxtables, Mom and Me, 2008.
    LaToya Ruby Frazier has been taking pictures of her hometown and family for two decades. Pictured here: Huxtables, Mom and Me, 2008.
  • Grandma Ruby And Me, 2005.
    Grandma Ruby And Me, 2005.
  • Aunt Midgie And Grandma Ruby, 2007.
    Aunt Midgie And Grandma Ruby, 2007.
  • Gramps On His Bed, 2003.
    Gramps On His Bed, 2003.
  • Grandma Ruby's Installation, 2002.
    Grandma Ruby’s Installation, 2002.
  • Mom Relaxing My Hair, 2005.
    Mom Relaxing My Hair, 2005.
  • Mom's Friend Mr. Yerby, 2005.
    Mom’s Friend Mr. Yerby, 2005.
  • Momme (Shadow), 2008.
    Momme (Shadow), 2008.
  • Mr. Jim Kidd, 2011.
    Mr. Jim Kidd, 2011.
  • Rally To Protest UPMC East, July 2, 2012.
    Rally To Protest UPMC East, July 2, 2012.
  • United States Steel Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson Plant, 2013.
    United States Steel Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson Plant, 2013.
    Courtesy of artist LaToya Ruby Frazier

 

Politics for the People Conference Call

With LaToya Ruby Frazier

Sunday, December 6th at 7 pm EST

 CALL IN NUMBER

641 715-3605

Code 767775#

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