We are delighted to announce that AWT Contributing Photographer Frances F. Denny is the star of a solo show as well as her first monograph, Let Virtue Be Your Guide.


Frances began taking pictures for what would become Let Virtue Be Your Guide in 2011 to capture the New England of her childhood. It evolved into an examination of womanhood and femininity, juxtaposing the women of her generation with their mothers and ancestors (present both in flesh-in-blood and in pictures on the wall).

Frances F. Denny: Edith, with a portrait of her ancestor
Edith, with a portrait of her ancestor
Milton, MA

In all of her work, Frances aims her lens at specific facets of femininity to draw out complex emotions: a lifetime of nerves in a pair of hands, the taste of despair in a half-eaten cake. Pieces from Virtue fit perfectly into our Anxiety issue. (For something more glittery, check out our interview with Frances about Pink Crush, a series inspired by artifacts of 90s girlhood.)

Frances’ recent trajectory has been too fast to shoot in one frame: she participated in a group show at Foley Gallery this summer after winning a contest for PDN Magazine, earned a solo exhibition at ClampArt gallery in Chelsea (on view through December 19, 2015), AND got her monograph deal with Radius Books. Despite this slew of accomplishments, Frances admits that she has her moments of doubt.

“I’ve had nightmares that the Art Police would come to my opening and bust me. NICE TRY, FRANCES, YOU DON’T BELONG HERE,” she says. “Feeling like a fraud and imposter, despite evidence to the contrary, is such a female experience. To believe in your work, but not yourself—even when those two things are inextricable—I don’t think that fear will ever really go away entirely. Maybe the trick is to harness it as energy to work even harder, to do more.”

Frances F. Denny: My mother’s hands
My mother’s hands
Salem, MA,

You won’t see Frances’ energy flagging anytime soon. After months spent working on her book and two shows, she reports, “I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with my camera!”

Frances’ monograph, Let Virtue Be Your Guide, is available for pre-order from Radius Books.

Featured image:
Hope, in the guest bedroom
Bar Harbor, ME

Exhibit images by AWT