When I first saw Houston based photographer and artist Cara Barer's work, I had to do a double take. What I'd thought were close up botanical studies were actually the delicately moulded pages of books. Cara used a number of tools and techniques including curling irons, clothes pins and water to manipulate the paper and then photographed the beautiful results.
Cara's inspiration behind the project was her thoughts on the obsolescence 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.”
These images capture the books at their 'half life' and show their fragile nature. As someone who grew up using encyclopedias on an almost daily basis for school general knowledge questions and projects, I have mixed feelings about the shift away from paper towards the instant gratification of our ever-present and accessible glowing screens. While the results are lightning fast and perhaps can be more accurate at times, there was something valuable about the journey, the search for information. In a way it paid a greater respect and created more mindfulness toward the topics you were searching for, whether it be a research topic, or even a contact number in the phone book.