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Gary Lopez

Gary W. Lopez is an American scientist, filmmaker, photographer, author, and media entrepreneur. He began writing and producing academic and documentary films in the early 1980’s focusing on science and nature topics. In 1991 he joined ocean explorer and filmmaker, Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel as a writer and producer. Lopez authored and edited science and nature book series that are available in school and public libraries worldwide. Lopez was the founder of two media development companies, Archipelago Productions in 1983 and The NROC Project in 2003. He was a pioneer in establishment of fine art astrophotography and his images have been highly decorated in international photography competitions.

Gary Lopez 2003
Monterey, 2003

Early Life

Lopez grew up in Antioch, California. From an early age he had an interest in both science and visual arts. He studied zoology at University of California, earning a BS in 1973, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1982 where is also taught and did research. While in graduate school became a screen writer for Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in Chicago, IL. At Britannica he met documentary producer Bert Van Bork and spent three years (1986-1989) as his assistant learning filmmaking.


In 1983 Lopez founded Archipelago Productions, a media development company that designed and developed interactive video programs and multimedia applications for many of the largest U.S. publishers including Harcourt Brace, Prentice Hall, and Encyclopedia Britannica. [1][2][3] Over a ten-year period, Lopez wrote and/or produced more than 40 academic and documentary films and series for Britannica Films, PBS, and BBC. He also authored two books, Sharks [4] and Air Pollution [5] and co-edited and co-wrote two juvenile book series, Wonder Book Series [6] and Creative Science Series. [7]  Archipelago Productions was acquired by Harcourt General in 1993.[8]


Lopez’s films received critical acclaim, including nine CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and in 1991 he was recruited by Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel, to produce a series of 108 short television spots entitled, Cousteau Moments. [9]


After the acquisition of Archipelago Production, in 1997 Lopez was appointed CEO of NETg, a division of Harcourt. He led the organization to become one of largest technology-based corporate training company in the world, serving a large number of the Fortune 500. NETg was acquired by Thomson Corporation in 2002 as part of the acquisition of Harcourt General. [10][11]


In 2002, Lopez returned to filmmaking. He reunited with Jean-Michel Cousteau to create the documentary series entitled, Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures for KQED (PBS). Lopez produced the inaugural episode of the series, Voyage to Kure (narrated by Pierce Brosnan) [12], which was premiered at a special screening for the White House. President George W. Bush cited the film as his inspiration for the establishment of the Papahanaumokuakea National Monument, a 583,000 square mile protect area that encompasses all ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. [13] [14] [15] [27] and is the world’s largest marine protected.


In 2003, Lopez founded the non-profit Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), the creator of The International Journal of Media and Learning (published by MIT Press), The NROC Project, and the open educational resource websites, HippoCampus and EdReady. MITE’s work is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [16][17][18], The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation [19][20] and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. [21][22] The EdReady learning platform developed by NROC is used by millions of students and educators nationwide.


In 2017 Lopez began exploring astrophotography as a way to combine nature and abstract photography. His pioneering work helped establish astrophotography as a category of fine art photography [23] [24]. Lopez’s space images have been highly decorated in fine art photography competitions, including First Prize in both the 2020 [25] and the 2021[26] International Photography Awards (Nature:Astrophotography).


1. Books by Archipelago Productions,, Retrieved 2022-10-01.


2. CD-ROM by Archipelago Productions, Biblio, Retrieved 2022-10-01.


3. CD-ROM by Archipelago Productions, WorldCat, Retrieved 2022-10-01.


4. Gary Lopez, Sharks, 1991, The Child’s World Publishing, ISBN-13:978-0895657053


5. Gary Lopez,  Air Pollution, 1992, Creative Education, ISBN-1:978-0886824273


6. Wonder Book Series, 125 volumes, The Child’s World Publishing,1989-1992


7. Creative Science Series, 100 volumes, Creative Education, 1989-1992


8. “Harcourt Acquisition,” The New York Times, October 14, 1993. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


9. Gary Lopez (1990-08), “Conservation Problems Recorded Worldwide.” American Cinematographer, vol.71, no.8. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


10. Kirkpatrick, David D (2000-10-28). “Media Giants in Joint Deal for Harcourt” ( The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-10-01.


11. Hane, Paula J. (2000-11-6). “Reed Elsevier, Thomson Negotiate Two-Step Deal to Buy Harcourt General.” International Herald Tribune.


12. “Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventure: Voyage to Kure.” ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


13. "President Bush Establishes Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


14. Revkin, Andrew C. (2006-06-15). “Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area in Hawaii.” ( The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-10-01.


15. Weiss, Kenneth R. (2006-06-15). “Bush to Protect Island Waters.” ( Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-10-01.


16. “Emerging Technologies Ready to Reshape Community Colleges.” ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


17. “Foundation Giving $110 Million To Transform Remedial Education.” ($110-Million-to-Transform-Remedial-Education). Retrieved Retrieved 2022-10-01.


18. “Gates Foundation Award $12.9 Million to Boost Community College Graduation Rates,” Philanthropy News Digest, December 7, 2009. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


19. “The Hewlett Foundation: Open Educational Resources Initiative.” ( Retrieved 2022-10-01..


20. “Oregon Students Can Turn to the Web for Courses,” Portland Business Journal, November 7, 2007. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


21. “MacArthur Foundation Awards $2 Million to Monterey Institute for Technology and Education,” Philanthropy News Digest, March 20, 2008. ( Retrieved 2022-10-01.


22. “Grants to Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.” ( MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 2022-10-01.


23. “It Started With A Shoebox Camera,” Carmel Pine Cone, November 27, 2020, p23A, Retrieved 2022-10-01.


24. “A Universe Beyond The Peninsula, Photographer Gary Lopez Captures the Cosmos,” Carmel Magazine, Summer 2021, p. 186-193, Retrieved 2022-10-01.


25. First Place/Nature/Astrophotography, Islands in a Radiant Sea, Gary Lopez, International Photography Awards, 2020. Retrieved 2022-10-01.


26. First Place/Nature/Astrophotography, Scarlet Lightning, Gary Lopez, International Photography Awards, 2021. Retrieved 2022-10-01.

27. Genzlinger, Neil (2006-06-05). "Jean-Michel Cousteau Finds a Bounty of Trash in a Remote Island Paradise." ( New York Times. Retrieved 2023-18-12.

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