Shale Falls (winter), 2005/2010
Archival inkjet print
9 x 11 inches on 11 x 14 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
(United States, b. 1975)
John Opera makes photographs in the spirit of transcendentalism, the idea of emphasizing the importance of the individual soul, and promoting a form of self-knowledge that can be acquired by experiencing divinity directly through nature. His landscapes can deliver powerful depictions of nature. Yet for all their picturesque quality, they are not always spectacular. Opera’s landscapes are not intended to communicate the grandeur of nature in the tradition of the European Romantic painters. Rather, like the American Transcendentalists, Opera goes to nature for inspiration, exploring the power of the mundane to elicit a feeling of interiority and an awareness of the subjectivity of experience.
Flame Falls (Winter) depicts a small waterfall in the Shale Creek Preserve of Erie County, NY where natural gas leaks from between the layers of shale. At the base of the waterfall is a small grotto where a flame can be lit behind a wall of water.
John Opera received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in Photography from the State University of New York at New Paltz. His work has been shown at Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago; the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York; Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Opera received the Weinstein Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and a Special Opportunity Stipend from the New York State Foundation for the Arts.