Frances F. Denny is one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015, as voted by the eight-member international jury for the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2015. Here is her winning entry and artist’s statement. View her profile to learn more about her and to see more of her great work.

“Let Virtue Be Your Guide” 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 her 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.

—Frances F. Denny