Frances F. Denny
LET VIRTUE BE YOUR GUIDE
113 pages | Clothbound with acetate jacket | 266 x 247 mm | English | ISBN: 9781942185000 | 2015
Let Virtue Be Your Guide examines the author’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, Denny’s photographs of the women in her family have a watchful quality, as if she is defining for herself what it means to be a woman. Her subjects, and the domestic spaces they inhabit, together evoke a distinct and well-worn privilege. But Denny finds the places where 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.