Old books transformed into works of art by Houston-based fine art photographer Cara Barer. Her process involves searching for books that are no longer in use such as software manuals or half-price books, soaks them in the bathtub for a few hours, then dyes and sculpts them using curling irons and clothes pins. The last step in her creative intervention is photographing them from above, presenting them anew as objects of beauty and giving the cast-off books a second life. Through her art, Barer documents that way books are being "displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality" and raises questions about their fragile and ephemeral nature.
This transformation and photographic documentation led 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 locate information. Now, with computers, tablets and/or smartphones, an Internet connection and cloud storage, a student has the ability to amass knowledge and complete a research paper without ever going near a library. I have fully embraced all this technology, and would not want to be without it, but fear the loss of the beautiful record of books common over the last two centuries.