Growing up in a traditional Irish-Catholic family, Toronto-bred photographer Danielle Paterson was always eager to learn about lifestyles outside her familiar “white picket fence” neighborhood. Luckily, she’s been close friends with club provocateur Sussi since middle school, who eventually helped Paterson find an escape in queer New York City nightlife.
“[Being from] similar suburban European neighborhoods in Toronto, [Sussi] knew I would appreciate New York’s diversity, creativity and the ways of living that are unlike [how] we were brought up,” Paterson said. “The first time I went out was at Ladyfag’s 11:11 and I was nervous because I wasn’t in drag. Sussi gave me very strict instructions: wear what makes you feel fabulous.”
That night, “fabulous” for Paterson meant purple silk lingerie, towering white YRU platforms, a floor-length silver fox jacket and, her most important accessory, a camera. Since then, the young photographer has been regularly documenting queer nightlife with her friends as recurring subjects. There are plenty of misconceptions about marginalized people and places, she said, which is an important dialogue she hopes to open up through her work.