Fine Art Photography Daily

Frances F. Denny: Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Edith, with a portrait of her ancestor. from Let Virtue Be Your Guide

Frances F. Denny’s trajectory has moved into new orbits. We’ve been on the sidelines cheering her on ever since her  2014 Lenscratch Student Award and 2014 Critical Mass Top 50 win–and lots of recognition in 2015, and today we are excited to celebrate her first solo exhibition opening tonight at ClampArt in New York City (plus gallery representation!) and the launch of her first monograph, Let Virtue Be Your Guidepublished by Radius Books, to be released December 1st (pre-orders and limited edition books can be ordered here). Let Virtue Be Your Guide will be on view through December 19th at ClampArt and the exhibition will also include work from Frances’ latest series, Pink Crush, in ClampArt’s Project Room.


©Frances Denny, Sugar Rush, from Pink Crush

Frances F. Denny (b. 1984) is an artist and photographer whose work investigates the development of female selfhood and identity. Originally from Boston, she holds a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. In 2015, LensCulture named Frances a Top 50 Emerging Talent, and the Magenta Foundation named her a Flash Forward Winner. She won the Still Life category in PDN’s The Curator contest for her 2015 series Pink Crush. In 2014, Frances received Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 award for Let Virtue Be Your Guide, and was named as one of “5 Photographers to Watch” by LightLeaked. Frances is a contributing photographer for the magazine A Women’s Thing. She is also a co-founder of Scrapped Magazine, a limited edition art journal showcasing the work of emerging artists working in all media. Frances lives in Brooklyn, NY where she balances her art practice and a career as an editorial and commercial photographer. Radius Books will publish her first monograph, Let Virtue Be Your Guide, in December 2015. Frances’ work is represented by ClampArt in New York City.


Let Virtue Be Your Guide cover


Frances on press with Radius Books


pages of Let Virtue Be Your Guide

Let Virtue Be Your Guide

“Let Virtue Be Your Guide” (2011-2014) examines the artist’s family and their deeply rooted history as early settlers of New England. One ancestor, John Howland, was a deckhand aboard The Mayflower. Unearthing the idea of feminine “virtue” from the confines of its historical meaning, the photographs of the women in the artist’s family have a watchful quality, as if the artist is defining for herself what it means to be a woman. Her sitters, and the domestic spaces they inhabit, together evoke a distinct and well-worn privilege. In the photographs seams pull apart exposing the shifts occurring across generations of women. The resulting collection of images becomes a search for meaning in heritage, a challenge to the notion of legacy, and the artist’s reckoning with a traditional version of American femininity.

The photographs included in “Let Virtue Be Your Guide” were taken between 2011-2014. They were shot in nine private residences located in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.


©Frances Denny, Floral patterns, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, My Mother’s Hands, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Hope, in the guest bedroom, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny,  Aunt N. before her portrait, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Martha (Great Grandmother) from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Kitchen Walls from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Walk, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Polka dot blouse, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Mother after her swim from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Portrait of my grandmother, in my mother’s house, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Cake, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, Lali, Wood’s Hole, from Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, from Storage Let Virtue Be Your Guide


©Frances Denny, My Mother (Thanksgiving), from Let Virtue Be Your Guide

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