Catherine Opie

Created on 11 December, 2013by mattwoods

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Language: English Status: Public All rights reserved ©
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Known as one of todays pre-eminent, fine arts, photographers, Catherine Opie was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1961, and now works in Los Angeles, California as an art instructor. She has practiced her art in such places as Italy, Rome, Paris, and all across the United States. Opie became a well-known artist by the early nineties when she created photographs from her gay and lesbian communities. She tries to create photographs that celebrate peoples' similarities, rather than their differences through a non-controversial, and respectful, way. As seen in the images, Opie places her subjects in the center of a monochromatic picture plane, which is usually a darker color than the subject themselves. She has her subjects look directly at the camera, or close to, I such a way that the gaze of the viewer does not penetrate them, rather, the gaze of the subject is "bent" and "twisted". In general, Opie does not try to alter her subjects normal appearance, she just leaves them in their own, different, specific communities. Although, some of her pictures include studio portraits of her lesbian friends with leather clothing, tattoos, and facial hair. Sometimes her subjects would use fake mustaches and wigs as disquises, along with aggressive decorations, such as, piercings and scars. This was done to diffuse the look of traditional genders for the sake of ambiguous, sexual, identity. Opie really just wants everyone to realize that we are all human, no matter what gender we identify with. Her work reminds us that everyday people, places, and things that we see on a regular basis can be seen in different and new ways. These kind of pictures were the earlier work of Opie that made her so well-known.
Over the years, Opie's art has mellowed out a bit, and even though her work has always been about art, and its methods, now she chooses things that are a little less controversial then naked people or cross-dressing gays and lesbians. In more of her recent work, Opie takes pictures of old high-ways, malls, and cottages. Opie has changed dramatically from her raw expressions of people, to a more aesthetical, formalistic, and even pictorial perspective. To say the least, her work has become less provocative and more technical. Opie's work focuses on the fundamentals of art itself; above all else. It is all about language of color, shapes, surfaces, and contrast between focal point and background.
Overall, Opie believes it is very important to have personal vision and an incredible sense of awareness about your work, and what it is expressing. She also believes that great photos come form patience and perseverance, because the right light might take awhile.

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