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Catherine Opie: Sandusky, Ohio | "Exclusive" | Art21

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Episode #203: Filmed in 2011, photographer Catherine Opie visits her hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. Opie wanders the town with her camera, searching for what she calls "that fine art Americana image," and reflects on how her early experiences in Sandusky influenced her approach to photography. "It's curious that I end up spending so much time by myself now photographing," Opie says, "because it's very similar to how I was when I was a kid—there was a lot of alone time." At the site of her father's former business, a craft supply factory, Opie describes the strong sense of patriotism that existed in her family home. Her photographs of high school football players, Tea Party rallies, and the first inauguration of President Obama demonstrate her own interest in American identities.

Catherine Opie investigates the ways in which photographs both document and give voice to social phenomena in America today, registering people's attitudes and relationships to themselves and others, and the ways in which they occupy the landscape. Working between conceptual and documentary approaches to image making, Opie examines familiar genres—portraiture, landscape, and studio photography—in surprising uses of serial images, unexpected compositions, and the pursuit of radically different subject matters in parallel.

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CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interviewers: Wesley Miller & Susan Sollins. Camera: Mark Falstad. Sound: Ray Day & Heidi Hesse. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Catherine Opie. Archival Images Courtesy: Catherine Opie. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

"Exclusive" is supported, in part, by 21c Museum Hotel and individual contributors.