Catherine Opie: Portrait Through a Home

“All of a sudden we find the human in her because there’s a dog eared remote control manual on her bedside table.” American photographer Catherine Opie here shows and talks about her captivating series of photographs from Elizabeth Taylor’s home.

“When photographers came over it was usually to do a portrait of her, and maybe they would do a couple of the rooms. But mine was never a portrait of her, it was always a portrait of her through her belongings.” The title of the work, ‘700 Nimes Road’, is Elizabeth Taylor’s address in Beverly Hills and offers a quite unique insight into not only Taylor’s legendary life as an actress and feted woman, but also her private life. In connection to this, Opie always asks herself how she can make a portrait that nobody else has ever thought about before. “All this meaning is attached to her, but maybe isn’t really her… The human aspect of taking somebody that’s as iconic, as well as trying to re-classify what is iconic, is what is really exciting and interesting for me.”

Catherine Opie (b. 1961) is an American photographer, whose works often evolve around minorities and subcultures. She has exhibited at international venues such as Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Photographer’s Gallery in London, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark. Opie lives and works in Los Angeles.

Catherine Opie was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her studio in Los Angeles, California in January 2016. In the video Opie discusses her series of 50 photographs from Elizabeth Taylor’s home – ‘700 Nimes Road’ (2012).

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Miriam Nielsen
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Cover photo: From ‘700 Nimes Road’ (2012) by Catherine Opie
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

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