In his photo-based work, John Opera combines a deep interest in the visual characteristics of natural and scientific phenomena with a rigorous experimental approach to the techniques and apparatuses by which photographs have been defined and produced. Opera often returns to antiquated—but by no means exhausted—photographic tools and processes, including pinhole imaging, and more recently the cyanotype and anthotype.
He earned his BFA from SUNY New Paltz (1998) and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). He lived, worked, taught, and exhibited in Chicago for more than a dozen years.
Opera’s exhibitions include: Higher Pictures (New York), Longhouse Projects (New York), DOCUMENT (Chicago), Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago), Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago), The Suburban (Milwaukee), The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Transformer Station (Cleveland), Michael Jon Gallery (Miami), Macalester College Art Gallery (St. Paul), CEPA Gallery (Buffalo) and The Burchfield-Penney Art Center (Buffalo). His work has been the subject of a two-person exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and is featured in the second volume of MP3, co-published by Aperture and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago). His work is part of the permanent collections of the DePaul Museum of Art (Chicago), the Burchfield-Penney Art Center (Buffalo), and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), among other institutions.
Opera’s work has been reviewed by Artforum, Artforum.com, The New Yorker, Flash Art, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Rail, The Buffalo News, and Chicago Artist Writers, among other publications.