Latoya Ruby Frazier

Google-search: latoya ruby frazier – the notion of family – denise and rodney clay

Picture: Denise and Rodney Clay, Shea’s aunt and uncle, watch president Obama take a sip of Flint water on television, 2016, from the series Flint is Family (Jones, 2016)

I see first – A man and a woman have stopped their daily activities to watch president Obama on television. The news banner on the television reads ‘presidential visit’. Obama sips from a glass of water.

Second – From the title I learn that the water is Flint water.

Third – In the accompanying interview in the magazine Aperture #226 American Destiny I read that the drinking of the water by Obama was a historical moment.

Last – After a wikipedia search I learned that the water of the Flint River had been contaminated with high concentrations of lead  and a federal state of emergency had been declared. Although the levels in the river are back to normal, the residents are instructed to keep using  bottled or filtered water until 2020, until all pipes are replaced.

All information certainly gives an added value to the picture, but even without it is already strong. The picture is in black & white and that takes away possible distractions. The setting and composition add to the strength of the picture and the message.

I appreciate how Latoya can make a political theme visible. For my own photography this is a great inspiration on how to photograph ideas.


Jones, K. (2016), ‘Witness’ In: Aperture 226 pp. 21-27

Wikipedia ‘Flint water crisis’ At: (last visited 15 April 2017)


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