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From Katie Booth’s article about Frances F. Denny’s series “Let Virtue Be Your Guide” for the New York Times blog Women in the World:

To be labeled WASP served as a jumping off point for Denny in examining her family’s privileged place in history, and its implications. “It was a word I was familiar with but rarely used myself. But something rang true about it,” she told Women in the World. “I became interested in ‘WASP’ as a cultural category, and began photographing my relatives to try to understand it. The word carries baggage, and no doubt to some, it’s downright pejorative,” she said. “For me though, it’s a useful term. The messiness of what it connotes approaches a more truthful answer to that favorite American question of ‘what are you?’”

It’s exactly that messiness that makes Denny’s work, rife with contradiction, so impactful. In one photo, a young girl with milky skin looks complacently at the camera from a floral, pastel bedroom. In another, light falls gently onto a faded blue carpet speckled with an aged and permanent set of stains. “I became particularly aware of not making things look too pretty, like a Ralph Lauren advertisement, for example, and to instead show something threadbare, stained, or worn-away,” she said. “I looked carefully at these surfaces and these people to see past the beautiful, composed veneers.”

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View Frances F. Denny’s exhibition “Let Virtue Be Your Guide” at ClampArt
Browse all of Frances F. Denny’s work at ClampArt

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