Work > The Audition

is an on going series that highlights the cultural significance of prom on the south side of Chicago and makes visible robust community celebration and joy surrounding this event.

While custom fashion is the entry point to Cooper’s series, titled The Audition, the central theme of the project is her exploration and focus on adolescent psychological development. Through these photographs of young men and women, in both private and public space, Cooper explores three stages of adolescent development outlined by behavioral scientist Erik Erikson in Childhood and Society. The egocentric state, the imagined audience and the personal fable are variations of an imagined reality in which the teenager is the center of attention. As the teenage matures these fantasies melt away and the adult emerges as one who is able to manage outside attention realistically. The Audition depicts the physiological space of the dissolve, where attention is no longer a fantasy, instead a reality that can be controlled by the performer.

All prom gowns represented in these images are made by designer Suzette Opara.

Stage, Englewood
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Ingenue, Dalton
Archival Pigment Print
32 x 50"
2015
Leading Man, Austin
Archival Pigment Print
26 x 30"
2015
The Understudy and the Ingenue, Calumet Park
archival pigment print
26x 40"
2015
Couple, Mattison
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Couple in the Crowd, Englewood
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Ingenue in the crowd, Englewood
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Ingenue, Markham
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Greenroom, Dalton
archival pigment print
26 x 40"
2015
Set, Hickory Hills
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Leading Man, Englewood
Archival Pigment Print
26 x 30"
2016
Leading man, Englewood
Archival Pigment Print
26 x 30"
2016
Costume Change, Englewood
archival pigment print
26 x 40"
2015
Stage, Calumet City
Archival Pigment Print
18x 28"
2015
Ingenue #4, Markham
archival pigment print
26 x 30"
2015
Ingenues, Hickory Hills
archival pigment print
26 x 40"
2016
Back Stage, Calumet City
archival pigment print
32x 50"
2015
Leading Man #1, Dalton
archival pigment print
32x 50"
2015
Curtain Call, Austin
archival pigment print
26 x 40"
2016
Ingenue #1, Austin
archival pigment print
40 x 26"
2014
Leading Man #2, Englewood
archival pigment print
26 x 30"
2015
The Green Room, Englewood
archival pigment print
32 x 50"
2015
Opening Night, Austin
archival pigment print
40 x 26"
2014
Leading Man #3, Calumet City
archival pigment print
32x 50"
2015
Audience, Englewood
archival pigment print
40 x 26"
2014
Audience, Austin
archival pigment print
40 x 26"
2014