Tenneson, Joyce 1945-

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TENNESON, Joyce 1945-

PERSONAL: Born May 29, 1945, in Boston, MA. Education: Regis College, B.A. 1967, George Washington University, M.A., 1969; Antioch College, Ph.D., 1978.

ADDRESSES: Office—1915 Biltmore Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009; 114 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.

CAREER: Independent photographer, Washington, DC, 1971-83; Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia Community College, professor of art, 1971-83; freelance portrait, fashion, and magazine photographer, Washington, DC and New York, NY, 1983—.

MEMBER: Society for Photographic Education, College Art Association of America.

AWARDS, HONORS: Ford Foundation grant, 1979; District of Columbia Commission on the Arts grant, 1982; Infinity Award, International Center for Photography, 1989; named Photographer of the Year, Woman in Photography, 1990.


(Editor) In-Sights: Self-portraits by Women, text by Patrician Meyer Spacks, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 1978.

Transformations, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1983. Joyce Tenneson—Photography, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 1985.

Au Dela—Joyce Tenneson, Contrejer (Paris, France), 1989.

Illuminations, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Wise Women, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Raised on the grounds of a convent, where her parents worked, Joyce Tenneson has been noted for the otherworldly quality of her photographic images. Nudes and semi-nudes draped in white gowns, disembodied limbs against a white linen background, her early work suggested the mysteries of birth and death, and rebirth. In her more recent work Tenneson has moved toward full portraits, less mysterious but psychologically more complex. "Human beings stripped of all but the lightest raiment dwell serene, contemplative and melancholy," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer of Transformations. Tenneson told an interviewer with the Florida Times Union, "I see my portraits as an extension of the work I have always done—an attempt to penetrate and reveal emotional essences."

Tenneson's portraits tend to be of women, whether in comic, erotic, or otherworldly poses. "The fact that I was surrounded by a female culture has also marked me," she told an interviewer for Photo Insider. "Not only the convent, but my mother had nine sisters who lived nearby." Her first book, Insights: Self-Portraits by Women, which she edited, predated the current interest in female photographers' images of themselves. And in Wise Women, Tenneson celebrates the enigmatic power and beauty of women aged sixty-five to one-hundred.



Florida Times Union, November 7, 1997, Sharon Weightman, "Photographer at Lectern," p. 28.

People, February 11, 1985, Campbell Geeslin, review of Photographs, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, January 4, 1993, review of Transformations, p. 68.


Photoinsider,http://www.photoinsider.com/ (May 6, 2002).*

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