Karen Baker is a photographic fine artist who practices the investigation of image making, from the gelatin silver prints she made early on to her current engagement with digital platforms.
Baker’s foremost signature is capturing the mundane aspects of American popular culture in straightforward, unglamorous images. She studied photography and art history at the University of California, Los Angeles and under the artists Keith Carter, Roger Ballen, Shelby Lee Adams, Ed Freeman and Julie Blackmon. She received a BFA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
She uses interdisciplinary approaches to address the themes of urban sprawl, exploring how people adapt to and connect with rapidly changing environments. Her images are social landscapes, examining the impact of human intervention on the erasure of land and culture. While incorporating the natural landscape, they are distinctly not about the natural world. She works in many forms of photography and digital imaging, switching from i-phones to large-format cameras, working with a generous use of color before returning to black and white. She follows a singular vision of daily life, using serial and often systematic approaches, with a strong intellectual underpinning, a restrained style, humor, and visual casualness; creating portraits of the ordinary and everyday.