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FAMILY AFFAIR.

Renowned photographer CATHERINE OPIE goes on the road to document lesbian families where they live

The word documentary comes up often in discussion of the work of Catherine Opie, who has been photographing gay men, lesbians, and transsexuals for nine years. Yet the chill of that word in no way describes Opie's rich and vivid pictures. Her lens serves less as a detached recorder than as a conduit that joins the viewer of the photo intimately to its subject. Whether taken in a studio, as with her "Portrait" series, or outside people's homes, as in her "House" series, Opie's photographs capture her subjects' uniqueness and universality without judgment. For the pictures reproduced on these pages, from her new "Domestic" series, Opie piled her equipment into an RV and traveled across the country for two months to photograph lesbian-led families in their own homes, presenting each in a large-scale color portrait accompanied by several smaller still-life photos of their living spaces. What she reveals are the private moments particular to these women's lives and the endearing mundaneness against which we all live our lives: a neatly made bed, windows darkening against the evening, a playful handwritten note, a quiet moment of togetherness. Every family is special, these pictures say, and yet we all share much more than we ever recognize--until we simply look around us.
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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 30, 2000
Words:224
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