Catherine Opie is an American fine art photographer as well as an educator. She lives and also works in West Adams, LA, as a tenured professor of photography at UCLA.
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.
Opie first came to be known with Being and Having (1991) and Portraits (1993–1997), which portray queer communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Being and Having looks at the outward portrayal of masculinity and is a reference to 17th-century Old Master portraiture. It conveyed strong ideals and perceptions based among persons of the LGBT community, referencing gender, age, race and identity; all constructed surrounding identity. This body of work similarly plays with performative aspects and play. These works read as iconography, themselves.
She is known for her portraits exploring the Los Angeles “leather dyke community”.