Espada was born in Puerto Rico, and came with his family to New York City as a child. After serving in the Air Force, he began his career in documentary photography. He specialized in photographing the Puerto Rican diaspora. He produced a book entitled "The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People." He later taught photography at the University of California, Berkeley. He died in 2014.
Photographs and negatives taken by Frank Espada, mostly comprised of images from his most well-known body of work, The Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project, which consist of several hundred prints and thousands of negatives of Puerto Rican communities across the Unites States.
Frank Espada Photographs, ca. 1970-2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History