Solo artist 2018

Mary Frey

Domestic Rituals & Real Life Dramas

The series ‘Domestic Rituals’ was shut in her own neighborhood in Massachusetts in the years 1979-1984. It portrays an everyday life with children, teenagers and adults in the American middle class. The photos are somewhere between snapshots and staged photography and are both intimate and distant at the same time. Her following series ‘Real Life Dramas’ (1984-1987) appears documentary in both photos and text, but are in fact fully staged and set up for the purpose of discussing the way we show reality and truth through the photograph.

According to the artist herself, the appearance of the series “Is meant to hover somewhere between reality and soap opera in order to question the “truth” of the camera’s vision.” In the light of the digital evolution, the work of Mary Frey is still very relevant three decades later because the self-staging in her photographs draws parallels to the way we portray ourselves on social media today.


The American photographer Mary Frey (b. 1948) was the headliner in the category Framing Society in 2019 with the exhibitions ‘Domestic Rituals’ and ‘Real Life Dramas’ exhibited in Flexsalen at Copenhagen Contemporary in the Festival Center of Copenhagen Photo Festival.
She earned her Master of Fine Arts from the Yale University School of Art in 1979, and she currently lives and works in western Massachusetts. Her work has received numerous awards, most notably the a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984 for her black and white-photographs in ‘Domestic Rituals’.