Sue Jaye Johnson


What are the cultural, religious, and social forces that govern the ways women and girls express themselves?


I’ve been approaching this question since the beginning. One of my first photo projects was to document the goings on in the women's rooms in nightclubs. And then at fraternity and private parties. Many of our ideas of what it means to be a woman are shaped by private and public rituals; there is no rite of passage for a girl that does not address her sexuality. For more than two decades, I’ve been documenting women’s rites of passages—quincineras, debutante balls, and weddings—curious about the ways women participate in—or defy—socially sanctioned public expressions of femininity.  I want to create a conversation about the cultural expectations that we have inherited and encourage women and girls to question the ways in which participation in ritual can support or oppose individual expression.