By Charmaine Poh

I wanted to use photography as a means to explore what the definition of womanhood meant for young adult women, like me, who found themselves as young adult women. It seemed like we had somehow stumbled upon this status without knowing how we got there. I sought women from various backgrounds who gave me their own definitions. Some were defined by their religions or sexuality, while others were defined by their mothers or lovers.

I dressed them in their school uniforms, which are mandatory in the Singapore schooling system and visual representations of adolescence. I photographed them in their most private space, their bedroom. I then asked them to think about the turning point in their lives, before asking them to write a letter to their young, adolescent selves. Feeling that much of how society defines women is by our physicality, I took self-portraits, each focusing on a particular body part. 

These body parts are undertones to their portraits, a way to look at the body and question what makes it interpreted as feminine, or not. I was interested in presenting more questions than asserting a definitive answer for the viewer. Perhaps that is just it - that the definitions are more muddled and confusing in our human reality, and that we each carve out a path on our own.