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Catherine Opie

Self Portrait

1993

Los Angeles–based photographer Catherine Opie has been documenting her surroundings since the early 1990s, often working serially, producing expansive bodies of images to rigorously investigate her subjects. Self Portrait is part of the series comprising photographic portraits taken in the gay and lesbian S-M community that first brought Opie significant attention as an artist. The work situates Opie within the community while simultaneously revealing a very personal narrative—scratched onto her back is an image of two girls holding hands in front of a house, portraying the artist’s wish at the time for a female partner with whom she might share a home and a life.

Catherine Opie (b. 1961, Sandusky, Ohio; lives and works in Los Angeles)
Self Portrait, 1993
Chromogenic print
40 x 30 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Michael A. Mehring

Many of the images are suffused with longing. A lot of this is about my own desire. —Catherine Opie