photographs and text by
These photographs are from two related bodies of work, Springs and Swamps. They were made in a geographical location that is both seductive and sickening: Florida, home to some of the most unique and breathtaking ecosystems in the world, but also home to relentless development.
I'm not interested in making pictures of the mayhem. We all know what post-Disney strip malls, towering condominiums and McMansions look like. I want to show what you haven’t seen.
I also want to remind you that water is an endangered resource. Living preoccupied lives, water is far from our day-to-day consciousness and concern. My pictures show the intricate and infinite nature of water.
One series was shot in the pristine freshwater rivers and springs of north and central Florida. In open water there is ever-present particulate matter. This layering of mud and muck, although it may appear to interfere with the water’s clarity, is in fact it’s lifeblood: the living and breathing matter seasons the soup and it reflects, refracts and bends the light to create its complexity.
My exploration and the resulting photographs inspired a trek to the southern part of the state where the most magnificent primordial swamps are located in Big Cypress National Preserve. The preserve is part of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and a mere 45 minutes from the sprawl of Miami to the east and Naples to the west, much of the preserve is completely wild and untouched. Via the good fortune of an Artist-in-Residence award from the preserve, the Swamps series began.The series continued with an additional Artist-in-Residence award from Everglades National Park.
Photographing the Florida freshwaters has become an emotional and spiritual process for me, as well as an artistic one. I am acutely aware of all the elements: earth, water, fire and air, and how they intermix. I am driven to translate this visceral experience into my photographs. My work evolves like a river with many tributaries.
— Karen Glaser took part in the 2009 PhotoLucida Portfolio Reviews Festival.