From Chloe Malle’s article for Vogue:
“There’s a constant tension between the two,” says photographer Frances F. Denny of being both an artist and a mother. “I think the only way to let the tension release a little bit is to try and make work about it.”
Inspired by motherhood, the occult, and photography itself, the images in Denny’s new photo series, “Spellwork,” pair flowers with artifacts from daily life to otherworldly effect. The photographs, on view November 9 through December 23 at CLAMP in Chelsea, are still lifes, but there is nothing still about them—much like life with a young child.
Denny’s last photo series was “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America,” an exhibition and accompanying book that inspired her to consider what magic means to different people. “It’s this overused, empty word that seems kind of hocus-pocus-y or Harry Potter-y,” she says over the phone from her home in Pound Ridge, New York. It wasn’t until Denny shot a witch named Starhawk that she realized photography is, in itself, a form of magic. “It’s this alchemy of light and vision and glass,” she says. “Making these images was ritualistic, and to me they feel like incantations or magic spells.” Their titles were drawn from Starhawk’s 1979 book The Spiral Dance, which encouraged Denny to think about magic as “the art of changing consciousness at will.”