The Royal Academy of Art: Artist in Conversation with Catherine Opie

Internationally renowned photographer Catherine Opie discussed with the Royal Academy of Arts Director of Collections & Learning, Rebecca Lyons, the influence of painting on her practice and her portraits of leading British artists. Together, they unpacked how Opie’s work has explored notions of identity, community, sexuality and belonging. Sometimes described as “social portraiture”, her work encompasses a wide variety of subjects from portraits and seascapes to domestic scenes and deserted freeways, and has established her status as one of the foremost documentarians of contemporary life.

Five of Opie’s portraits of leading British artists from the RAs Collection were displayed in their Collections Gallery. In these works, Opie draws on the theatricality of 17th-century Baroque paintings to depict Gillian Wearing, Anish Kapoor, Isaac Julien, David Hockney and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.


Catherine Opie in her studio. Courtesy of the artist.

Here is a short extract from the evening

Footage courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts © Royal Academy of Arts 2023