CH25: Latoya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling changes in Braddock, Pennsylvania

For over 12 years, visual artist LaToya Ruby Frazier has been exploring America’s economic future by looking at a present-day microcosm—through a very personal lens. The talented TED Fellow has captured and compiled photos and videos of her hometown Braddock, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the US steel industry that has fallen victim to corporate irresponsibility, environmental decay, segregation and white flight. Frazier’s photos reveal all this, but weave in the very personal context of her own family. With an overarching theme of industry versus environment, Frazier’s arresting series focuses on the people that have been damaged in the process.

“I am not a journalist,” Frazier explains. “I am a conceptual documentary artist that is using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard. I am pushing for cultural and social change through a different story that runs parallel to a lot of the media coverage discussing Braddock… that avoids crucial issues.”

Read more about this talented and admirable artist on her CH25 profile.

Illustration by Jason Ratliff, images courtesy of LaToya Ruby Frazier