FLORIDA MAY BE KNOWN for its excesses — tourist traps, towering condominiums, and rampant sprawl — but the state’s biodiversity is perhaps even more extravagant, featuring an array of breathtaking ecosystems. From the fragile springs and pristine rivers of the north to the south’s Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, there are freshwater and saltwater marshes, dry and wet prairies, hardwood hammocks, mangrove forests, and vast acres of primeval swamp. “The tie that binds all of these extraordinary regions,” says photographer Karen Glaser, “is water.” Since 1992, Glaser has traveled Florida, focusing much of her attention on the springs and swamps. Her landscape photography is shot underwater, capturing the unique natural light and life of this unfamiliar world. The mud and muck that is common to these waters may cloud their clarity, but it is their lifeblood — as Glaser describes it, “the living and breathing matter that seasons the soup and reflects, refracts, and bends the light to create its complexity.”

Karen Glaser’s photography is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. In 2011, the Southeast Museum of Photography will feature a survey of her Florida Project.


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