Stunning, aren't they? And yes, they're books, although some of them could almost pass for fireworks. This is the work of Cara Barer, a Houston-based photographer who takes books that are no longer serving their purpose—such as an out-of-date tech manual—and transforms them into beautiful art models.
My photographs are primarily a documentation of a physical evolution. I have changed a common object into sculpture in a state of flux. The way we choose to research and find information is also in an evolution. I hope to raise questions about these changes, the ephemeral and fragile nature in which we now obtain knowledge, and the future of books.
I arrive at some of my images by chance. Others, through experimentation. Without these two elements, my work would not flow easily from one idea to the next. A random encounter on Drew Street with the Houston Yellow Pages was the primary inspiration for this project. After that chance meeting, I began the search for more books, and more methods to change their appearance.
I realized I owned many books that were no longer of use to me, or for that matter, anyone else. Would I ever need “Windows 95?” After soaking it in the bathtub for a few hours, it had a new shape and purpose.
Barer has dozens of similarly gorgeous photos at her site; you really should take a few minutes and take a gander.