Pink Crush by Frances Denny

Frances F. Denny (b. 1984) is an artist and photographer whose work investigates the development of female selfhood and identity. Her work is represented by ClampArt in New York City. Radius Books published Frances’ first monograph, ‘Let Virtue Be Your Guide’, in the spring of 2016. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.

Frances is the recipient of a 2016 NYFA Fellowship, and has won numerous awards, including PDN’s 30, LensCulture Emerging Talent, Magenta Foundation Flash Forward, and Critical Mass 50. Her work has been featured by The New York Times/Women in the World, Art New England, Dazed, The Humble Arts Foundation, PDN, and A Women’s Thing. Frances lives in Brooklyn, NY where she balances her art practice and a career as an editorial and commercial photographer.

‘Pink Crush’ describes the “visual iconography of late 20th-century girlhood…” Where and why did this project come about?

The ideas behind ‘Pink Crush’ had percolated for about a year before I began making the actual images. I was thinking about the materiality of my own experience of being a girl during a certain era of pop culture, and the objects and motifs that I associated with growing up in the 90’s that still resonate with me today as a grown woman. I read Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist and Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, which informed the way I conceived of the project. At it’s heart, ‘Pink Crush’ asserts that feminism doesn’t have to reject a proclivity for the color pink, or traditional “girliness”—but it should question the reasons for those penchants.

For ‘Pink Crush’, I wanted to photograph in a new way. rather than use a film camera and natural light as I did for my previous series ‘Let Virtue Be Your Guide’. I craved the control studio lighting would provide, so I experimented using strobes with colored gels. That heightened the plasticity and artificiality I was looking to imbue the photos with.

To read the full interview, please visit the World Photography Organisation website.

The World Photography Organisation produces a series of exclusive interviews with the winners of The Fence annually.