Books as Life: 2024 Member's Exhibition


Karen Lightner

Karen Lightner is a photographer and book artist. She retired 5 years ago after working as a rare book and art librarian and curator at the Free Library of Philadelphia for 35 years. She earned an MFA in Photography and Book Arts from Visual Studies Workshop/SUNY-Buffalo in 1981.

William H. Bartlett's Schuylkill Water Works, 1838. A Tunnel Book

This 19th century hand-colored engraving of the Fairmount Water Works is one of my favorite prints in the Print and Picture Collection at the Free Library, where I was curator for 5 years. I took several (scanned) copies of the print to a tunnel book workshop I was taking, since I thought the dimensionality created by the tunnel format would enhance the experience of the print.

Pigment print on Epson paper, pattern paper, cloth, board


One day at lunch I happened upon the sculpture, The Great Mother by Waldemar Raemisch, in front of the Youth Study Center, bound up, ready to be moved to its new home. The binding and padding of the figures of children seemed to me such a metaphor for the struggle of children caught up in the criminal justice center.

Pigment print inkjet photographs, yellow ribbon