Spring 2018

Past Events

February 08, 2018


The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027


February 8, 2018


Using Photography for Social Change


Introduced by Aliza Nisenbaum, Visual Arts


Headshot of LaToya Ruby Frazier

(c) John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Each day, we’re bombarded by images: on billboards, on screens, in schools and in our bedrooms. And these images, largely corporate in origin, carry power—power to shape, control, and constrain—even when they offer a fantasy, or an outright lie.


That’s why, as LaToya Ruby Frazier argues, photography is a battleground of representation. We cannot control the material circumstances of our birth, our families or our economic circumstances. But in order to change society—to seed real change and cultural transformation, especially for the marginalized and the forgotten—we must change the picture we have of ourselves and our communities.


In this talk, Frazier discussed 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 her book The Notion of Family as well as from works of art by Frederick Douglass, August Sander, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Langston Hughes, she related her conscious approach to photography, opened up more authentic ways to talk about family, inheritance and place, and celebrated the inspirational, transformative power of images.


LaToya Ruby Frazier’s solo exhibition was be on display at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, January 14–February 25, 2018. 439 West 127th Street.


Co-presented by Columbia University School of the Arts and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.