About Rhonda Lashley Lopez

Shooting is playtime. There isn't anything I'd rather be doing. Printmaking is work time. I love it, and that's why I print my own work. But it's the time to be a perfectionist, to be patient, to remember to write down everything I do ... to really focus on one image at a time. When I put a print out into the world, I want it to be of the very best quality I'm capable of making, and I want it to last 100 years or more.

Shooting is playtime. There isn't anything I'd rather be doing. Printmaking is work time. I love it, and that's why I print my own work. But it's the time to be a perfectionist, to be patient, to remember to write down everything I do ... to really focus on one image at a time. When I put a print out into the world, I want it to be of the very best quality I'm capable of making, and I want it to last 100 years or more.

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 turning pages, looking for inspiration. When I got to "photojournalism," I knew it was my answer. 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 loved curating shows at Photography 414 in Fredericksburg, Texas, including an exhibit of Imogen Cunningham's work. For that project, I included 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.