Call this an archive, a memory box, an investigation, a tribute...
In March of 2014, Francesca "Frenchie" DeLorenzo died unexpectedly, of an accidental overdose. She left behind heartbreak, shattered family and friends, and photographs. Dozens of lush prints and file folders of negatives, carefully preserved. These photos spanned over ten years, mostly from her time in the photography program at California College of the Arts (CCA). This process of looking through her work impressed upon us what we always knew: her immense talent, her singular visual voice, and the resolve to preserve it.
Francesca took photographs on film and printed them in the dark room. What digital files existed of her work were stolen with her laptop prior to her death. In 2016, I started a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money to digitally archive her work. The outpouring of love and support for this project was immense. We raised $8,000. This site will serve as the archive and vehicle for this ongoing process. I hope it will continue to be a collaborative process.
Her work has made an impact on many of us. Frenchie started taking photos in high school. She was a painter and multimedia artist as well. Anybody who knew her in college knew she'd be up all night working on her projects. She worked hard.
Her senior thesis project Trompe L'oeil Love is a provocative series exploring the pretense of intimacy. Trompe l'oeil (trick of the eye) is the term used for the technique of using realistic imagery to create an optical illusion of depth. She worked with multiple male models and placed herself as the female subject in all of them. The photos are unnervingly staged and emotionally muted and yet they are filled with curiosity and light.
Her close friend and colleague Sebastian Caceres has signed on to help support this effort. He is graciously working with us to carefully scan the negatives, ensure they are cleaned up and color corrected. In some cases, they've been scratched so it can be time-consuming. He worked closely with her during her time at CCA, and knows her style and visual voice better than anyone.
As I said, this site will function as an archive, but also a memory box and a tribute. I want to share her artistic legacy with others. She was a magnetic, hilarious, powerful woman, with an innate sense of style and beauty -- all of her work was an investigation of self. May we continue to know her and see her in the light of her own photographic eye.
Maria DeLorenzo (sister)
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or ideas related to this project.