LaToya Ruby Frazier focuses her camera lens on her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, to explore themes of family, inequality, health care and environmental racism.

Why you should listen

TED Fellow LaToya Ruby Frazier uses photography, video and performance to address issues of industrialism, rustbelt revitalization, environmental justice, healthcare inequality, family and communal history. Some of her work, which features images of her mother and grandmother (Grandma Ruby) was published in her first book, The Notion of Family, which received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award.

She has exhibited her work widely in the United States and elsewhere, with solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She is an assistant professor of photography at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, having previously taught at Yale, Rutgers and Syracuse University.

LaToya received her BFA in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in art photography from Syracuse University. She was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for visual arts at the American Academy in Berlin in 2013 and won a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2014. She is also a 2015 MacArthur Fellow.

What others say

“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. ” — International Center of Photography

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s TED talk

More news and ideas from LaToya Ruby Frazier


2015 MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winners include two TED Fellows: Patrick Awuah and LaToya Ruby Frazier

September 29, 2015

The MacArthur Foundation revealed its list of 2015 Fellows this morning. Twenty-four people received the “genius grant,” a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend — and two of them are TED Fellows: Patrick Awuah and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Patrick Awuah founded Ashesi University, a college in his home country of Ghana dedicated to educating Africa’s next generation of leaders by […]

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A picture that rendered me speechless, snapped at TED2015

June 25, 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture was worth all the words I had — it rendered me speechless. It’s an image of six Black women, smiling and hugging, taken by Ryan Lash at the TED2015 conference. There we were —  LaToya, Somi, Aomawa, Camille, Danielle and myself — in all […]

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We humans

An unexpected family photo album

March 25, 2015

For the last 12 years, LaToya Ruby Frazier has photographed her family as it deals with reality on the American post-industrial front lines in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The images, she says, show a family struggling to survive.

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