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LaToya Ruby Frazier, a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age, has won a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Frazier, an assistant professor in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois, was a 2006 recipient of a CAA Professional Development Fellowship. At the time, she was completing her MFA in art photography in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Before that Frazier earned a BFA in photography and graphic design from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. The crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, forms the backdrop of her images, which make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live among it.

Frazier’s work has appeared in solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Seattle Art Museum in Washington, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Her first book, The Notion of Family, was published in 2014. To learn more about Frazier’s work, watch her MacArthur Foundation video.

Other winners of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship include the author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the painter Nicole Eisenman, and the playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. For the entire list of 2015 fellows, visit the foundation’s website.

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from its fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during their term of the fellowship. The MacArthur fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000, paid out to the recipient in equal quarterly installments over five years.

Founded in 1993, CAA’s Professional-Development Fellowships program supports promising artists, designers, craftspersons, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal-degree programs nationwide. The deadline for the MFA fellowship is Monday, November 16, 2015. CAA will send notifications in January 2016.

Image credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Filed under: Awards, People in the News