The Surfers are large-scale colour photographs of seascapes taken along the Malibu coastline and portraits of surfers standing on the shore just after emerging from the water.
The Surfers were created after Opie returned from a one year residency at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where she created the Icehouse series. Both the Icehouses and the Surfers are part of Opie's ongoing series focusing on American cities and landscapes. The Surfers were photographed in the morning when the light fog in the air faintly obscures the horizon line, causing the water's edge to seamlessly fade into the sky. Like the Icehouses, the Surfers document a community defined by a landscape.
Catherine Opie has become known for her photographic series of queer portraits and American urban landscapes ranging from large colour images of Beverly Hills and Bel Air homes to small jewel-like silver gelatin prints of the Los Angeles freeways. Moving from the territory of the body to the structure of the city and its surrounding landscape, Opie is engaged in what has been described as "cultural portraiture."
Catherine Opie has participated in group and solo exhibitions in museums all over the world. Solo shows include Skyways and Icehouses, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 2002; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; The Saint Louis Art Museum; The Photographers Gallery, London; Thread Waxing Space in New York; ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas in 2000 and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1997. Catherine Opie's new work will also be featured in the 2004 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.