I started working with my family archives nearly twelve years ago. It was also at this time that I began to use the computer for my art making. Since then, the elements of the family photograph and the electronic media remain prevalent in my work. In the beginning, my images where very autobiographical; they were, in fact, documentation of my family history. I began incorporating family images beyond my personal album as a way to create a collective history, one which would allow individuals to bring their own memories to my work.
The 19th century portrait, landscape, and the digital media help me communicate my interpretation of the human experience. By extracting people from their original context and then placing them into fabricated landscapes, I hope to retell a story of their being, one which allows the images to acquire a life of their own. While the pieces from photographs verify an actual lived experience, the landscape stands as my metaphor for life, demarcating its quality, where the horizon suggests an endless time.
I feel my work is successful when it reflects my personal thoughts andexperiences which then speak to the inner soul of the viewer. For instance, look at my recent images and then consider the events of my personal life. The previous year was a time of extreme emotions for me. I lost a brother to a terrible disease and three months later I gave birth to my first child. This blatant exchange of life and death made me question many things, the intangible human spirit, the miracle of birth, the passage of death, nature's role of the mother, and my own inner conflict of independence and the dependent child. The specific stories are not necessary to understanding the work, but they are what drive their creation. My images have become a visual diary, a place where I come to terms with life.
Martina Lopez has been teaching photography and digital imaging at the University of Notre Dame since 1993. In 1985, she earned a BFA Degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and a MFA degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1990. Her work was included in the third edition of Naomi Rosenblum's A World History of Photography and is in various private and public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.