Karen Glaser

(American, b.1954; resides in Chicago, IL)

Karen Glaser has been photographing underwater ecosystems—such as saltwater oceans, freshwater springs, outdoor swimming pools, and wild swamplands—for over two decades. Taking her camera both above and below the surface of Florida’s wetlands and America’s coastal waters, she captures diverse forms of life that have existed since prehistoric times. Glaser’s photographs of such remote spaces have a timeless quality that evokes the style of scientific illustrations and idealized paintings that were frequently created prior to the invention of photography. Taken with a 35mm camera and only using available light, the images appear distinctively grainy, further abstracting these rarely seen worlds. They elevate the complexity and fragility of aquatic systems that lie beyond the day-to-day perspective of most people.

Karen Glaser received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (1976) and her MFA in photography from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana (1980). She has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1980.


White Tips and Jacks, 2007White Tips and Jacks, 2007
Turtle Hop at Catfish Sink, 2005Turtle Hop at Catfish Sink, 2005


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Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554

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  • Monday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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