Artist Works With Strangers Creating Fictional Family Portraits Using Civil-war Era Technology

Modified motorcycle is equipped with mobile darkroom for project
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* Art
* Photography
* Contemporary
* Motorcycle
* Portrait

* Arts
* Photography

* San Diego - California - US

* Projects

Nov. 16, 2012 - PRLog -- SAN DIEGO, CA (November 2012)--

The project is RELAMPAGO҆ In RELAMPAGO (, fotography is the means by which people and strangers are engaged to participate in something illuminating, powerful, unpredictable, destructive and wondrous; RELAMPAGO (spanish for lightning) strikes, splits, captures and transforms.

In RELAMPAGO, participants will collaborate with Omar Lopez in a fictional foto-narrative, creating wet-plate family portraits where Lopez, the stranger, pose as a member of other people's families.

Posing inside other people's homes, in front of tourist attractions, in studio settings, Lopez will collaborate with participants to decide which member of the family he will be.

"It might be easy to pretend I'm your son, long lost brother, cousin or uncle... but would you be comfortable enough to pose with me in your husband's place? What emotions arise from me taking a picture posing as the father of your children?..." says Lopez, "...Who would you accept me to pretend to be? Who wouldn't you let me pretend to be?"

For RELAMPAGO, Lopez has chosen to work specifically with wet-plate fotography because of the magical process and collaborative experience it entails-the vulnerability, the luck and chance-are central to his art practice.

"There's no traditional negative. That light reflecting from you through the camera to the wet plate-its making direct contact, this is your physical photograph, this is a treasure-but really the process the experience is the gold, this rig of alchemy I haul around on my bike, the interaction between you and me trying to coax this miracle out of chemicals and contraptions and light," says Lopez.

Lopez drew inspiration for the project partly from the history of wet-plate fotography's first practitioners, "[It] carries a tradition of mobility, adventure, exploration, engagement. In horsedrawn caravans or with giant backpacks, wet plate fotographers set off to document the Civil War, the Crimean War, and the unknown Great American West. In lieu of a horse, my motorcycle hauls my equipment and materials, and instead of wars I am documenting people."

At the end of the project, Lopez will publish a catalogue of his in the form of a 32-page tabloid newspaper called RELAMPAGO FOTO.

To make sure the catalogue is printed in best quality, Lopez is collaborating with design staff from London-based printer Newspaper Club, and to print on special 80 gsm paper and produce a craft-quality newspaper that will impress you with the feel of its paper and smell its pages, in the style of Monocle Alpino / Mediterraneo-a craft quality art book offered in a traditional mass-produced medium.

RELAMPAGO is seeking funding online through a kickstarter campaign. The campaign seeks to raise $6,150 for the project's expenses.

Lopez has exhibited work at the San Diego Museum of Art's Summer Salon (, UCSD's UAG Gallery (, and Art Produce Gallery ( He curated the binational collaborative art project Twins in Twain for the 2011 San Diego Contemporary Art Fair, and was in charge of the design/build aspect of The (In)Visible Project (

His artist statement reads, "My art focuses on engagement, the dynamic between risk-reward-loss, collaboration, and-always in there-beauty. I design my work to involve people, strangers & participation."

Press Contact

Omar Lopez   619.852.9379

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Tags:Art, Photography, Contemporary, Motorcycle, Portrait
Industry:Arts, Photography
Location:San Diego - California - United States
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