Cara Barer




Cara Barer

Work from The Book Project.

“My photographs are primarily a documentation of a physical evolution. I have changed a common object into sculpture in a state of flux. The way we choose to research and find information is also in an evolution. I hope to raise questions about these changes, the ephemeral and fragile nature in which we now obtain knowledge, and the future of books.

I arrive at some of my images by chance. Others, through experimentation. Without these two elements, my work would not flow easily from one idea to the next. A random encounter on Drew Street with the Houston Yellow Pages was the primary inspiration for this project. After that chance meeting, I began the search for more books, and more methods to change their appearance.
I realized I owned many books that were no longer of use to me, or for that matter, anyone else. Would I ever need “Windows 95?” After soaking it in the bathtub for a few hours, it had a new shape and purpose. Half Price Books became a regular haunt, and an abandoned house gave me a set of outdated reference books, complete with mold and neglect. Each book tells me how to begin according to its size, type of paper, and sometimes contents.
As I begin the process, I first consider the contents of each volume. I didn’t spend more than a few seconds on “Windows 95,” but the “New Century Dictionary of the English Language,” is a treasure that, because of its fascinating illustrations, and archaic examples, saved it from taking on a new form. Sculpting segued to thoughts on obsolescence and the relevance of libraries in this century.
Half a century ago, students researched at home with the family set of encyclopedias, or took a trip to the library to find needed information. Now, owning a computer, and connecting to the internet gives a student the ability to complete a research paper without ever going near a library. I have fully embraced that technology, and would not want to be without it, but, I also fear that it is rapidly leading us to rely less and less on the reference books common in the last two centuries.

With the discarded books that I have acquired, I am attempting to blur the line between objects, sculpture, and photography. This project has become a journey that continues to evolve.

A final note – No important books have been injured during the making of any of these photographs.”

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