The Center for Creative Photography, part of the University Libraries, holds more archives and individual works by 20th-century North American photographers than any other museum in the world. Work by more than 60 major American photographers – including Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Weston and Garry Winogrand – form the core of a collection of more than 80,000 pieces.
The University of Arizona Libraries and Center for Creative Photography have announced that Katharine Martinez has been selected as the center's new director.
Martinez, currently director of the Fine Arts Library in the Harvard College Library located in Massachusetts, has broad experience in museums and research libraries. She has managed photographic collections at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution and the Winterthur Library.
“Martinez’s appointment represents a shift in the institution’s oversight. We sought a director who will build upon the center’s recent accomplishments and raise the institution to a new level," said Carla Stoffle, dean of UA Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography.
Stoffle served as interim director after the former director and chief curator, Britt Salvesen, left the UA during the fall for a position at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Martinez is slated to take over the directorship July 12.
"We expect she will work closely with the center’s senior curator as well as other talented members of our staff when it comes to matters of acquisitions and exhibitions,” Stoffle said.
Since 1998, Martinez has served at Harvard University, overseeing a collection of more than 1.5 million photographs and prints.
Also serving as the Herman and Joan Suit Librarian, Martinez has had oversight of the Harvard Film Archive, with its collection of more than 10,000 35mm and 16mm films and several thousand posters along with a robust public film program.
She has extensive experience and accomplishments in strategic planning and organizational development, budget management, fundraising, outreach, collection development and management and preservation.
Additionally, Martinez has worked to improve access to information, and is noted to have strengths in working in collaborative environments across a range of disciplines.
“We expect that when members of the photographic community get to know Katharine Martinez, they will be impressed by her wide-ranging experiences and her capable leadership skills,” said David Knaus, who co-chairs the UA center's Board of Fellows.
Martinez has curated exhibitions for the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, earned fellowships from Harvard University Library and Stanford University Library, served on the editorial board for American Quarterly and acted as a member of the Board of Directors of Research Libraries Group, RLG. She also is a past-president of the Art Libraries Society of North America
In 1972, Martinez earned a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Delaware. She went on to earn a Master of Library Science degree in library science from Indiana University in 1975. She earned a doctorate in American studies from George Washington University in 1986.
In 1990, she took a position as adjunct professor in the University of Delaware Art History Department, serving through 1993. While there, she directed theses and taught a graduate seminar using materials from the Winterthur Library’s special collections.
Her areas of expertise are 19th and early 20th century visual culture, particularly the intersection of high art and popular taste and the reception of images. Also, Martinez has presented papers at scholarly conferences, published in juried periodicals and monographs and has edited volumes for publication.
She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled "Craze for Pictures: The Production and Reception of Photographic Images in the U.S. 1880–1920."
John P. Schaefer, the center’s co-founder, said he was "delighted" that Martinez was appointed.
"Katharine Martinez clearly understands what a complex institution like the center requires," Schaefer said. "She will be able to deliver a clear picture of the center’s preeminent position as a photographic archive, research center, and museum, and provide greater access to our unique assets.”
Phoenix Art Museum director Jim K. Ballinger, who has overseen a new collaboration between his institution and the Center for Creative Photography during the last four years, also remarked on the hire.
“That Katharine Martinez will bring her broad and interdisciplinary perspective of American Studies and material culture to the CCP is a valuable contribution," Ballinger said. "This expansive approach to the history of photography allows her to see the center’s collection with new appreciation, opening up even greater opportunities.”