Carolyn Drake is interested in photography as a medium for reshaping reality and history, and for its uncanny capacity to activate human emotions. Initially drawn to a lyrical yet enigmatic approach to documentary work, she has most recently earned acclaim for her visual collaborations, through which the traditional divide between author and subject 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 communities whose identities resist domination and clear definition. Over time, she tailored her work abroad to mirror the odd and entangled cultural exchange that her professional photo career enabled. 

Drake returned to the US in 2014 and is now based in Vallejo, California, from where she is currently using photography and other media to explore the dynamic between how we see each other and how we relate to each other.

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 current solo shows at SFMOMA and the Houston Center for Photography. She is a graduate of Brown University and an associate at Magnum Photos.