Catherine Opie is an icon. Her photography work is known all around the world and she very well may be the photographer most representative of America. Earlier this year, she made a brilliant appearance on PBS art show Art:21. In the episode, she talks about her work and process and shows us through a few projects she has been working on. What stood out most to us is that Los Angeles played a huge character in her feature but, somehow, was left out of the conversation. We knew we had to get in touch with her and fill in those blanks.
And, we actually got to do it! One late May afternoon, I biked out to her studio and met with her for a little over an hour and got to hear how she got into photography, how her work is always tied to documentary, and that she will never be able to be a predictable artist. She shared a few new works with us, including a brilliant collection of portraits she is working on surrounding the late actress, Elizabeth Taylor. Opie was so down-to-earth and open: it was incredibly refreshing. She really truly is the representation of American photography but, even more than that, she is the emblem of Los Angeles art, carrying a spirit of constant toying with work and what is being said. She may always be working in and around documentary and portraits but that does not mean her has to come out the same every time around.
Check out our full interview with Catherine Opie here. It’s a really, really good one.