Carolyn Drake is interested in photography as a medium for reshaping reality and history, and for its uncanny capacity to activate human emotions. Initially known for her lyrical approach to documentary work, she has most recently earned acclaim for her visual collaborations, through which the traditional divide between author and subject, as well as other accepted binaries, are brought into question.
Drake lived in Istanbul for nearly a decade, developing personal projects and working on commissions in Turkey, Ukraine, Central Asia, and China. She was drawn to working in communities whose identities resist domination and authoritative definition. Drake returned to the US in 2014 and is now based in Vallejo, California, from where she is currently looking at the performance of community in the US – the gendering of space, safety and surveillance, and the role that photography and digital worlds play in seeing and defining ourselves at home.
Drake’s awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lange Taylor Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Anamorphosis prize, among others. Her independently-published photo books have received wide attention, and have recently been translated as installations, including recent solo shows at SFMOMA and the Houston Center for Photography. She is a graduate of Brown University and an associate at Magnum Photos.