Photographs Behind Closed Doors / Hyperallergic

aToya Ruby Frazier, “Self Portrait In Gramps’ Pajamas, (227 Holland Avenue)”, 2009, 20 x 24 inches. Silver Gelatin Print. (all images courtesy of the artist and Galerie Michel Rein, Paris unless otherwise noted)

aToya Ruby Frazier, “Self Portrait In Gramps’ Pajamas, (227 Holland Avenue)”, 2009, 20 x 24 inches. Silver Gelatin Print. (all images courtesy of the artist and Galerie Michel Rein, Paris unless otherwise noted)

CHICAGO — To every story there is a backstory. Open the door and walk down the hall until you reach a room you haven’t been in before. The exhibition Backstory at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) travels down those halls, considering the photography of LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ron Jude, and Guillaume Simoneau — artists whose work intertwines personal narratives, reflections on the self in relation to others, and cultural backstories. These are not self-portraits or selfies, but rather photographic reflections on times since past, on places that once held significant meaning, on relationships that continue to ebb and flow, on states of being that are no longer present. The photographs in this stunning exhibition are not so much nostalgic as they are reflections, refracted light slicing through the window at the end of a hot summer day. And even to those carefree days, there is a backstory.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work, which occupies the mezzanine level of this exhibition that winds itself from the first to the third floor of the MoCP, documents struggles familial, economic and urban. For this body of work, she returns to her childhood home of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a city that felt the rise and fall of the steel industry, which collapsed in the 1980s around the same time that the community was hit with a crack cocaine epidemic. A town that has since lost 90 percent of its peak population, and is littered with abandoned homes and storefronts, Braddock is like the Ohio city of Elyria — an example of American prosperity and subsequent failure.

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/84041/photographs-behind-closed-doors/