About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Opalenik’s romantic dreams, reveries and reminiscences held still transfix and transport us with the sensual pleasure of looking.
                                                              - John Paul Caponigro, Visual Artist

Elizabeth Opalenik is regarded as one of the most creative photographers of our time. She is known for her sensual images, including work in the Mordançage process (taught to her by the master, Jean Pierre Sudre), handpainted black and white, infrared films, Polaroid manipulations and specialized toning. With limitless creativity Elizabeth has found her voice as a photographic artist, learning that all good photographs are self-portraits that lie somewhere between imagination and dreams.

Nikonos and Elizabeth   ©Beth Moon   www.bethmoon.com

Ms. Opalenik was raised on a farm outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, living as a neighbor to the Amish and their uncomplicated ways. Her upbringing continues to reverberate in the personal images she creates. Her ongoing projects are as diverse as her life experience, whether a figure study in water, a serene black and white photograph of Amish daily life, or an image from her most recent body of work, “Poetry in Motion,” which captures fluid, watercolor-like grace as the artist expresses her childhood dreams of becoming a dancer.

A highly sought after educator, Ms. Opalenik teaches international workshops privately on the figure, portraiture, and alternative processes, and has been teaching multiple workshops over more than 20 years in partnership with the Maine Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions among others. She works with breast cancer explorers through the F Holland Day Center for Creativity and Healing using photography as a visual voice for discovering the beauty within. Elizabeth has lectured throughout the United States as a board member of Freestyle Photographic Supplies, has been a distinguished lecturer at the School of Journalism, Visual Communications, University of Texas, Austin and has been guest speaker for many chapters of the ASMP, PPA and BAPC.

Ms. Opalenik’s work is in museum, gallery and private collections throughout the world including La Bibliotheque Nationale – France; The Portland Museum of Art; and The Milwaukee Art Museum among others. She has been shown in over sixty exhibitions internationally and is represented by Verve Fine Arts in Santa Fe and Gallery DeForest in Ashland, Oregon. Elizabeth’s photographs have appeared in numerous books on photography and in magazines such as: Camera Arts, PDN, Silvershotz, Collectors Photography, Photo Design, Popular Photography, Zoom and editorially in Life Magazine, San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Golf Magazine, Diablo Magazine, Victoria Magazine and many others. Elizabeth has worked commercially for United Cerebral Palsy, American Express, Tylenol, Michael Good Design, Chimere Perfume, Gossard Lingerie, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and Nancy Lopez Golf.

As Elizabeth says, “from portraits to landscapes, our images are stepping stones that trace where the mind has been and form the unique vision each of us carries through life.” Elizabeth teaches that by revealing ourselves, we discover new ways of seeing. Her desire is to respond to the light and to the essence of the subject of her images, creating a lasting yet momentous representation of a lifetime of moments and experience.

Ms. Opalenik resides in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where she uses her former life experiences as Accounting Manager for Continental Oil, interior designer, restaurateur, woman contractor and childhood memories of western Pennsylvania farm life to fuel her creativity.

She has been a photographer for 28 years and recently published her first monograph, “Poetic Grace: Elizabeth Opalenik Photographs 1979-2007”.