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An interview with Danny Wilcox Frazier
“I always had this desire to leave, not necessarily to know where I was going but to leave. That tension is still there, and that tension has influenced my work, is a big part of it. I hope people recognize the tension as something that a lot of people who are from rural communities, it’s not just rural Iowa, it’s rural communities around the country, what they wrestle with—the connection to community, the connection to the culture, the connection to one’s family, but at the same time the challenges that the lack of economic opportunity, or just the influence of popular culture and mass media, has on that life. . . . Still, it’s my home. It’s where I’m from. . . . Knowing that it was going to become a book, this story that I cared so much about . . . and have that recognized by someone like Robert Frank? I mean, it’s unbelievable.”
A full transcript of the interview
Danny Wilcox Frazier, a freelance photographer and filmmaker, grew up in Le Claire, Iowa, and has a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He has photographed across his home state for the past six years, and his assignments have taken him all over the world. Frazier has received grants and prizes from the Aftermath Project, Humanities Iowa, POYi, the National Press Photographers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and Chinese International Press Photo. He is also a two-time finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant. Frazier’s images have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Life, Fortune, U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes, and he is a contributing photographer for Mother Jones and CR magazine.
Danny Wilcox Frazier’s work was selected from four hundred entries to win the third biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition. Driftless: Photographs from Iowa was a New York Photo Award finalist for Best Photography Book of the year and was also selected for an exhibition of the year’s Best Photography Books curated by the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville. The book was featured in photo-eye, Photo District News, and Duke magazine, and Mother Jones ran a major feature of Frazier’s Driftless photographs (“American Heartland”) in its March/April issue. A photograph from the book also appeared in the Times Literary Supplement. Photographs from his book Driftless have been exhibited and screened widely, and in 2010, Frazier’s film version of Driftless, produced by MediaStorm’s Brian Storm, won a Webby Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award in the New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Current News Coverage category. He is a member of the non-profit collective Facing Change: Documenting America and he is represented by Redux Pictures.
More About Danny Wilcox Frazier
Driftless: Stories from Iowa on MediaStorm