Carolyn Drake studied Media/Culture and American History in the 1990s at Brown University, where she became interested in documentary, and the ways that history and reality are purposefully shaped, revised, and re-imagined over time. After graduating, she worked for publishing 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 entered the grad program at Ohio University, returning to New York frequently to photograph the Lubavitchers, a closed community of ultra orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, where she had lived for eight years. In 2006, she moved to Ukraine, where she created photo stories along the perimeter of the country while studying Russian and Ukrainian.

      Since 2007, Carolyn has been pursuing 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 book, self published in 2013, is a creative collaboration with writer Elif Batuman and designer Sybren Kuiper. In content and form, it celebrates ambiguity without discrediting the photographic search for meaning. The second project, still ongoing, is an amalgem of photographs, drawings, embroidery, and texts made in Uyghur areas of western China. The work explores the boundaries of photography while telling the story of a culture being disrupted and reshaped.

      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 in Oxford, Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff, Somerset House in London, and Open Society Institute in New York, among other venues. She has taught photo workshops in Copenhagen and Almaty, and has delivered lectures internationally. Her recent editorial clients include The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Time Magazine. Carolyn recently relocated from Istanbul, Turkey to Water Valley, Mississippi to create a new body of work. She can be reached by email at or by phone at +1 240 383 9117.

      Website developed by Marty Spellerberg.