Catherine Opie


Catherine Sue Opie (born 1961) is an American fine-art photographer and educator. She lives and works in Los Angeles, as a professor of photography at University of California at Los Angeles.

Opie studies the connections between mainstream and infrequent society. By specializing in portraiture, studio, and landscape photography, she is able to create pieces relating to sexual identity. Through photography, Opie, documents the relationship between the individual and the space inhabited, offering an exploration of the American identity, particularly probing the tensions between the constructed American dream and the diverse realities of its citizens. Merging conceptual and documentary styles, Opie's oeuvre gravitates towards portraiture and landscapes, utilizing serial images and unexpected compositions to both spotlights and blur the lines of gender, community, and place, while invoking the formal gravitas reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture and hinting at her deep engagement with the history of art and painting.

She is known for her portraits exploring the Los Angeles leather-dyke community. Her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and she has won awards including the United States Artists Fellowship (2006) and the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Women’s Caucus for Art (2009).

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American photographer whose work focuses on portraits. Her series "Being and Having" (1991) and Portraits (1993–1997) depict her friends in the lesbian and gay community in Los Angeles.

Country of birth

United States


Artist, instructor, photographer

ULAN identifier



Catherine Opie

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