Martha Meyer is a local photographer, business owner, and the latest artist to be featured in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL. Her show – titled Grecian Spring, Italian Summer – is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Branch where it invites you to slow down and appreciate the world’s beauty with a radiant photographic series captured during a recent trip abroad. You can warm your winter days with Grecian Spring, Italian Summer through January 5th, and after that, you can learn more about Ms. Meyer’s work by visiting her Fotogiardino website. We recently spoke with Ms. Meyer via email about her artistic inspirations, taking “pretty” pictures, and the blessing that is Lake Michigan.
Evanston Public Library: Can you tell us a little about your background as an artist? How did you get started in art? Was there something specific in your life that sparked a need to create? What drove you to create in the beginning? What drives you now?
Martha Meyer: Making art has always been an important part of my life. My brother Tom is a big inspiration to me. He is a retired graphic designer and photographer and is very supportive of my work. After two and a half years of college, I was undecided about what avenue to take, so I quit school and went to work. Many different jobs later, I decided to return to school and get a degree in graphic design, and I graduated from Columbia College in 1981.
I have been shooting pictures for over 35 years and wanted to find a way to combine my two passions, gardening and photography. I launched Fotogiardino Garden Photography in 2008. Fotogiardino provides digital images for landscape designers and architects for use on their websites and marketing materials.
EPL: How do you describe your art? Do you see yourself as fitting in with any specific artistic movements or styles? Do you work in any other mediums in addition to photography?
MM: Sometimes I question the idea of taking “pretty” pictures. But that’s on a bad day. Most of the time I feel that people have a real need to see beauty; it gives them pleasure. And the world, for all of its problems, is still a remarkable and beautiful place. I also do pastel landscapes.
EPL: Can you give us a window into your creative process? When and where do you work? How do you choose your subjects?
MM: Travel always inspires me. My husband Mitchell and I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to Europe several times. Italy is our favorite place to visit. I always claim that you can’t take a bad picture in Italy. If you do, throw away your camera; it must be broken.
EPL: What are your future goals and plans as an artist?
MM: I would like to expand my range as a photographer and begin working in portraiture.
EPL: How do you find Evanston and the Chicagoland area as a place to work and exhibit as an artist? What inspires you as an artist about the community where you live?
MM: Living so close to Lake Michigan is a blessing. The water reflects the light and on some days it is just spectacular. We may not have the sunsets, but we do get splendid sunrises. There are also a lot of trees in my neighborhood and in Evanston. I am very fond of trees and love to photograph them. I am also a certified Treekeeper with Openlands and a Master Gardener.
Interview by Russell J.