Rhonda Lashley Lopez
June 13 – September 1, 2019
The Artist on Artist Books
It’s satisfying and intimate to hold something handmade and precious in your hands and look at the photographs within, one by one. It’s a solitary activity, and slow. It gives you time to really look and feel and maybe reflect. You’re close to the photos, with no glass in between. And there’s the mystery of what might be found on the next page.
We look at so many photos on screens. It involves one sense: sight. When you look at photos in a book, you’re sensing with your eyes, ears, nose and skin.
Some of the photographs I make are close and intimate looks at the world, and it feels right, somehow, to look at them in a handmade book instead of on a wall or a screen. I print mostly on gampi and apply gold leaf to the backs of the prints. I like for people to touch the prints because the paper feels so yummy and there’s the surprise of seeing the gold. A book is perfect for this. – RLL
The Artist on Her Bodies of Work
Liable to Disappear
It’s the crux of life, of holding something in my hand for a moment and then — it’s gone. Like others, I’ve lost people and animals I loved, failed at relationships, felt utterly disappointed with humanity, lost parts of my body to cancer, and watched the ongoing destruction of nature. And so I see that the world offers up infinitely precious and fleeting moments. I must notice, and drink it in. – RLL
Requiem for Small Creatures
With this project I hope to honor the lives and mark the passing of an often overlooked class of animals, Insecta.
Some scientists think we are witnessing a massive extinction of insects, and one long-term study estimated we have lost 40 percent of their biomass. I want to serve as a witness and documentarian of this sad state. Millions of insect species inhabit the world, but there are not enough entomologists or funding to record them all, or even to document the loss of entire species. But I can gather information from museums and other collections on insects that have disappeared from the planet in recent history, or that are critically endangered or suspected to be extinct, into a photographic record, which does not currently exist.
Some people wonder why we should care that the world has lost so many insect species when there are so many left. Others of us feel each loss diminishes the rest of life on earth. In spirit and in health, we all are connected.
I aim to emphasize the importance of biodiversity and the link to human life, and to raise awareness of actions we can take to promote insect survival. I am working on gaining permission to photograph collections throughout the world and seeking funding to carry out this ambitious project. I also plan to contribute my straight photographs to public databases such as the Encyclopedia of Life. – RLL
After teaching school a few years, I decided to do something else. I loved the kids, but I hated having my days fragmented by ringing bells. I ordered a graduate catalog from the University of Texas in Austin and started reading through the pages, looking for inspiration. When I got to “photojournalism,” I got all excited. At the time, I hoped I might change the world through daring exploits in the field. So I studied photography at UT and earned a master’s degree in journalism/photojournalism. It was my great fortune to study with J.B. Colson, Dennis Darling, Maggie Steber and Larry Schaaf, and to be able to spend time looking at photographs at the Harry Ransom Center.
Through the years, I worked in small-town newspapers and some magazines, and did just about every job: writing, designing, shooting and editing. I taught briefly at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, and at Austin Community College. I curated several shows at Photography 414 in Fredericksburg, Texas, including an exhibit of Imogen Cunningham’s work. For that project, I dug into the Library of Congress archives for excerpts from old letters between Imogen and her family and friends, including her fellow photographers Ansel Adams and Minor White.
My documentary photo book, Don’t Make Me Go to Town: Ranchwomen of the Texas Hill Country, was published in 2011 by the University of Texas Press. The platinum prints from the project were exhibited in several places in Texas. I was honored to be invited to speak at the Texas Book Festival as well as independent bookstores and a women’s conference in Texas, and to sign books at the Humanities Texas Book Fair. After that hoopla died down, I decided to pursue a different kind of photography, something more expressive and personal, perhaps the result of having cancer, losing my mother, having my daughter graduate and leave home, hitting midlife and moving to a tiny town in the mountains.
I’ve been working with platinum printing and gold leaf since studying with the amazing Dan Burkholder in 2009. I work in my studio in northern New Mexico with platinum/palladium and pigment printing, cyanotypes, gold leaf, Japanese papers and hand coloring. My recent teachers are two of my favorite photographers, Keith Carter and Kate Breakey, and the lovely artists (and amazing people) Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek.
I’m honored that my work resides in numerous private collections. – RLL
13th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, Honorable Mentions for Liable to Disappear in three professional categories: Fine Art, Nature, Alternative Processes, juried by Elisabeth Bondi
Critical Mass 200 finalist, with Liable to Disappear
Griffin Museum of Photography’s 24th Juried Members’ Exhibition, juried by Richard McCabe, “Romance” from Liable to Disappear
Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, “Hope Springs Eternal” group show, “White Birds Flying” from Liable to Disappear
First place, “Celebration of Light,” Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, juried by Richard Gadd, “Romance” from Liable to Disappear
PhotoPlace Gallery, group show at the gallery in Vermont, juried by Ann Jastrab, “Storm over the Jemez”
Artists’ Residency in Norway, Light Grey Art Labs, multimedia collaboration with composer and musician Emily Cardwell
Radius Books editing workshop, Santa Fe, with David Chickey, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
Mary Virginia Swanson, Master Class, Tucson