Week 11-Artist OTW-Student Choice
Artist: Catherine Opie
Catherine Opie is an American photographer. Opie is from Ohio, however, she currently lives and works at West Adams, Los Angeles. She currently is a professor at UCLA. Opie is also a board member for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Andy Warhol Foundation. Opie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Fransisco Art Institute in 1985. In 1988, she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the California Institute of Art.
When it comes to Opie’s work she tends to create either conceptual or documentary images. She also tries to make the viewers feel sympathetic to the subjects in the photos. For her art, Opie focuses more on the subject rather than the surroundings. She uses plain backgrounds in order to get rid of the external details. Before attending the California Institute of Art, Opie was only a black-and-white photographer. For example, one of her black-and-white photos in her “The Freeway Series”. However, now Opie is known for her color portraits. One of her most known pieces is her “Self Portrait/Cutting”.
Opie gets her inspiration from many different places such as political movements, urban transformation, S&M leather participants, or high school football players. However, Opie gets most of her inspiration from the LGBT community. Some of Opie’s photographs surrounding the LGBT community are autobiographical. Since Opie is a lesbian she wanted to create a photograph that showed her experience as being a part of the LGBT community. Two of the photos that gained attention was “Self Portrait/ Cutting” and “Self Portrait/Pervert”. Along with the two portraits Opie created a series to show the San Fransisco queer leather subculture.
I enjoyed looking at Opie’s photographs. I like how the subjects and concepts for her photos are so different. Rather than focusing on one idea, Opie is able to explore many different options. I can resonate with her photos since I’m in the LGBT community. Although I don’t partake in the subcultures she focuses on I can understand the meaning behind her work. Just because someone does something that doesn't follow society’s norms they are immediately outcasted and labeled as perverts or weird. All in all, I enjoyed researching Opie’s work, and I hope to see what else she comes up with.