Mary Frey is an American photographic artist whose practice spans over 40 years. Her various projects address the nature of the documentary image in contemporary culture. Recently she revisited her earliest photographs, reimagining their context and meaning as metaphor for a life lived.
The result is the publication of two books, Reading Raymond Carver (Peperoni Books, 2017) and Real Life Dramas (Peperoni Books, 2018). Both bodies of work grew out of her fascination with the snapshot as a vessel for, and a shaper of memory. Frey considered the subjects in her photographs as her “cast of characters”. She sought out particularly banal situations and posed them as is they were truly engaged in their activities. As a result, these images have a quasi-documentary look, turning our trust in the veracity of a photograph on itself. At once, these photographs attempt to question the nature of photographic truth while using the iconography of middle class customs to comment on societal values and systems.
Currently Frey is working on a third book of photographs, which will incorporate work covering her entire career and act as a bookend to complete this trilogy.