Vanessa Filley was born in New York City in 1975.  She received her BA from Oberlin College and for the first six years of her career was a human rights investigator at a law firm.  Instead of following her intention to go to law school, she founded a clothing company of one of a kind wear from recycled fabrics.  Two years later her practice evolved into mixed-media fine arts.  Her work ranges from large scale sculptural installations to tiny embroidery pieces.  After years of making pictures she discovered she could synthesize her art making in photographs, allowing her to design scenes, make costumes and conjure a certain sense of emotion and place.  She has several long term series with overarching themes of childhood imagination and the female experience and is inspired by how history and memory shapes who we are in the present. In June of 2018 she completed a two month residency at the Frances Willard House Museum. She has been showing work, and has won a number of juror’s awards, throughout the US and internationally since 2015. In 2016 she was one of Photolucida’s Top 200. In 2018 she was one of Photolucida’s Top 50. She lives and works in Evanston, Il.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image from my photography page, please contact me directly.  Images are available in 12X18 and 20X30 inches in editions of 10 to 25 (depending on the image) in archival pigment prints. 

Selected Group Exhibits & Shows

FOTOFESTIVAL LENZBURG, In Search of Beauty, Lenzburg, Switzerland.  May-June 2019.

APERTURE GALLERY, LensCulture Art Photography Awards, New York, NY. May 2019.

SAMPLE GALLERY, Mother F-Stop Inaugural Show, Chapel Hill, NC. April 2019.

JARVIS DOONEY, Postcard Salon, Berlin, Germany, March 2019.

PERSPECTIVE GALLERY, Solo Show, Voices of Resistance, Evanston, Il. February 2019.

Yixian 2018 International Photography Festival, #MeToo Series, Yixian, Anhui China, November 8-12, 2018.

Lang Jingshan Cup, 2nd China New Picturesque Photography Biennale, #MeToo Series, Huai’an, Jiangsu China, Oct. 27-31, 2018.

ARTPRIZE 2018, Western Michigan University, #MeToo Series, Grand Rapids, MI. Sept 2018.

GUTFREUND CORNETT ART, RISE! Empower, Change & Action!,  Los Gatos, CA. August 2018.

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, It’s Time, Santa Ana, CA. July 2018.

Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Family of No Man, Arles, France, July 2018. 

FOCUS PhotoLA, Arles, France, July 2018.

Artbox Project, Stricoff Gallery, New York, NY, March 2018.

Atlanta Photography Group Gallery, Portfolio Show, Atlanta, GA, February 2018.

PhotoPlace Gallery, Celebrating the Creative Process, Middlebury, VT, December 2017.

Perspective Gallery, A Nursery Rhyme for You, Solo Show,  Evanston, IL, November 2017.

Griffin Museum, John Chervinsky Scholarship Award Finalists Show, September 2017.

Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Open Call Photo Show, Providence, RI, February-March 2017.

Perspective Gallery, Not For You My Dear, Evanston, IL, February 2017.

The SE Center for Photography, Red Show, Greenville, South Carolina, February 2017.

Photo LA, FOCUS Photo LA finalist, Los Angeles, CA, January 2017.

LoosenArt Gallery, Vanitas Show, Calgliari, Italy, Dec 2016.

Morpho Gallery, Featured Artist Show, Chicago, IL, November 2016.

Center for Fine Art Photography, Dreams 2016, Fort Collins, CO, November 2016. 

Midwest Center for Photography, Developed Work Show, Witchita, KS, Oct.-Nov 2016.

Photo Focus L.A. Berlin Art Week Pop-Up Gallery, Berlin Germany,  September 2016.

Photo Place Gallery, A Sense of Place, Middelbury, VT, Sept. 2016. 

A. Smith Gallery,  Habitat Show, Johnson City, TX, August 12-Sept. 18, 2016.

Evanston Art Center, Evanston Made Show, Evanston, IL, June 2016. 

Creative Co-working, Featured Artist, Evanston, IL, May 1-July 1, 2016.

Morpho Gallery, 11th Annual Juried Photography Exhibition, Chicago, IL, April 8-May 5, 2016.

Perspectives Gallery, Featured Artist, Evanston, IL, March 31-May 1, 2016.

A. Smith Gallery, Childhood Show, Johnson City, TX, Feb 27-March 26, 2016.

Dragonfly Boutique, Featured Artist, Evanston, IL, January 2016.

Artificial Turf, Group Show, Evanston, IL, January 9, 2016-February 28, 2016.

Seities & Selves, DarkRoom Gallery, Essex JCT, VT. January 2016.

Roots Salon, Solo Show, Chicago, IL,  November, 2015-August, 2016.

ARTRUCK, Evanston, IL, October 10, 2015.

Black Box Gallery, Color Show: Photography Now, Portland, OR, June 2015.

Zhou B Art Center, Third Friday Gallery Show. April, May, July, August 2015.

Water Street Studios, Artists As Visionaries: Climate Solutions. March-May 2015.

Rootings : The Knowledge Project, Kochi Biennial, India, October 2014.


5th International Photography Annual, Published By Manifest Gallery, 2017.

Shots Magazine, no. 132, Summer 2016.

Illumine Magazine, Vol.3 No.1 Fall 2015.

GreenMama: Giving Your Child a Healthy Start and a Greener Future, 2014.


12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, Honorable Mention 2018.

Lensculture Art Photography Awards Finalist 2018.

Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 2018.

Midwest Center For Photography, Developed Work, People’s Choice Award, 2016.

Photolucida Critical Mass Top 200 2016. 

Center for Fine Art Photography, Juror’s Award, Dreams Show, November 2016. Juror Jennifer De Carlo.

A. Smith Gallery, Habitat Show, Juror’s Award, August 2016.  Juror Julie Blackmon.

Morpho Gallery, 11th Annual Juried Photography Exhibition Winner, 2016.


Picture Berlin, Berlin, Germany. October-November 2018.

Frances Willard House Museum, Evanston, IL. May-June 2018.


Evanston Arts Council, May 2018.