Kathleen O’Reilly [RA 2019]

First name: Kathleen ;
Middle name:
Last name:
O’Reilly ;

Member: Resident Artist Member ; 
2019 ;
n/a ;


I was born and raised in Manhattan and have lived here through the late ‘40s and 50s in all their gritty Tri-X 400 chiaroscuro. Through the Kodacolor ‘60s and ‘70s in all their saturated hedonism. Through the explosion of images in the ‘80s and ‘90’s, despite the growing trend for celebrity portraits. And now in the digital age with its endless possibilities – despite its selfies. I live with my husband, Jon, in Chelsea.

Like most mid-twentieth century children, my first camera was a Brownie (“always stand with your back to the sun”). The first camera I bought for myself was a used Nikon F with a 50MM lens purchased from a Japanese photographer who was visiting a friend. I think I paid $200 for it. Maybe less, but no more. The first roll of film I bought was, of course, Tri-X 400. The year was 1971. I was working as assistant to a man who had a small film company that made commercials and trade-show films. By “small” I mean my boss, Gary, and me. The advantage of the company’s size was that I had to do – and therefore learn – everything. Gary had started out as a film editor and though then involved in all aspects of production, editing was his forté. I learned how to heft reels of film and sound onto the editing table and sync the dailies; and how to thread the moviola (a word my spellcheck doesn’t know). Most importantly, I learned how to “see” and “remember” film frames, and I discovered how creative juxta positioning of frames could create intended and sometimes unexpected, results.

It is now many years, many frames, many “captures,” and several cameras later (currently I carry a Nikon D800). In the interim: Jobs in film production, publishing, and teaching. But always coming back to sitll photography when I could mange the time and clear my head enough to see.





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Record birth date:
December 23, 2019

Last updated: September 24, 2021 at 14:58 pm