Carolyn Drake studied Media/Culture and American History in the 1990s at Brown University, where she became interested in approaches to documentary, and the ways that history and reality are purposefully shaped and revised over time. After graduating, she worked for multimedia companies in New York for many years, but eventually left her office job to engage with the physical world through photography. She studied at ICP and Ohio University, returning to New York frequently to photograph the Lubavitchers, a closed community of ultra orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. In 2006, she moved to Ukraine, where she created photo stories along the perimeter of the country while studying Russian and Ukrainian.

      Between 2007 and 2013, Carolyn pursued two photography projects in Central Asia. The first, “Two Rivers,” explores the shifting borders, histories, and life systems in the geographic spaces between Aghanistan, Iran, Russia, and China. The second project is an amalgem of photographs, drawings, and embroideries made in collaboration with Uyghurs in western China. Framed between passages from Nurmuhemmet Yasin’s story “Wild Pigeon,” it is presented as an allegory about Uyghurs and about the world. Both projects, self published in book form in 2013 and 2014, aim to question dominant notions of reality in the western view and to search for alternatives. Her experiments with photography and collaboration continue in her works-in-progress in Ukraine and the United States.

      Carolyn is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright fellowship, the Lange Taylor Documentary Prize, a World Press Photo award, and was a finalist for the Santa Fe Prize. She has exhibited at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Third Floor Gallery, Somerset House, and Open Society Institute, among other venues, and has taught photo workshops and delivered lectures internationally. Carolyn currently resides in Athens, Georgia and can be reached by email at or by phone at +1 240 383 9117. (Website developed by Marty Spellerberg.)