About us

Center for Creative Photography Announces New Director

Date: April 30, 2010

Contact: Gabrielle Sykes-Casavant


The University Libraries and Center for Creative Photography (CCP) are pleased to announce the selection of Katharine Martinez, Ph.D., as Director of the Center for Creative Photography effective July 12, 2010. Following a wide-ranging search that generated a group of distinguished applicants, Martinez emerged as the ideal candidate to lead the Center with her broad experience in museums and research libraries managing photographic collections at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Winterthur Library.

Since 1998 Martinez has been director of Harvard University’s Fine Arts Library, which has a collection of more than 1.5 million photographs and prints. She also oversees 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. Her extensive experience and accomplishments in strategic planning and organizational development, budget management and fundraising, outreach, collection development and management, preservation, and access to information have proven her ability to work in collaborative environments across a range of disciplines.

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, acted as a member of the Board of Directors of Research Libraries Group (RLG), and served as president of the Art Libraries Society of North America, among other accomplishments.

Martinez earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University (1986), an M.L.S. in Library Science from Indiana University (1975), and a B.A. in Art History from University of Delaware (1972). She was appointed Adjunct Professor in the University of Delaware Art History Department (1990–1993), directed theses, and taught a graduate seminar using materials from the Winterthur Library’s special collections. Her area of expertise is nineteenth and early twentieth-century visual culture, particularly the intersection of high art and popular taste and the reception of images. She has presented papers at scholarly conferences, published in juried periodicals and monographs, and 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.

“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. We expect she will work closely with the Center’s senior curator as well as other talented members of our current staff when it comes to matters of acquisitions and exhibitions,” said Dean Carla Stoffle.

CCP Board of Fellows co-chairs David Knaus and John P. Schaefer shared their enthusiasm for the new appointment. “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. Schaefer, the Center’s co-founder, said, “I couldn’t be more delighted. Katharine Martinez clearly understands what a complex institution like the Center requires. 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. This expansive approach to the history of photography allows her to see the Center’s collection with new appreciation, opening up even greater opportunities for the Center.”

Related Coverage: UANews article, Harvard College Library News, AZ Daily Star article