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Articles by Senior Staff Writer Lylla Younes

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"Momme" from The Notion of Family, 2008.

In the winter of 2010, the photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier strapped knee pads over her leggings and pulled on a pair of Levi’s blue jeans. The denim brand had just opened a popup shop on Wooster Street in lower Manhattan to promote a new clothing line designed around the motif of the “urban pioneer.” For the site of its ad campaign, the company chose Braddock, Pennsylvania, aestheticizing the town’s post-industrial landscape in a series of images plastered across magazine pages and New York billboards, and making it appear as a place in motion with ample economic horizons for any working American. “Go Forth,” one ad instructed the viewer over a black and white image of a horse flanked by two denim-clad supermodels. It couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Wearing combat boots, a cap, and thick industrial gloves, Frazier, who was born and raised in Braddock, crouched on the sidewalk outside the Manhattan store and began dragging her lower body back and forth over the pavement, first her thighs, then her knees. The moves were choreographed, taken from footage of steel industry workers on t... Read more

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