As a small child in Syracuse, New York, Karen Halverson’s mother took her and her siblings us on an 8,000 mile, three-month road trip around the American West. She saw at a young age saw how dramatically different the western landscape was from what she knew of the Northeastern US. Later, she was living in New York City and working towards a Ph.D. in anthropology but became interested in taking photographs. She left academia behind and in the early 1980s began traveling to the West regularly to photograph. She is still enthralled by the western landscape, but the human presence is also part of her investigation. Recently she has been exploring the natural and cultural landscapes of New Orleans, Detroit, South Florida, and in the Northeast.
Over the last decade, the Beinecke Library at Yale University has acquired close to 400 of her photographs for its permanent collection, with an emphasis on her work from the American West. In 2018, some of her photographs were included in the Beinecke’s exhibition “Eye on the West” and in the catalog of the exhibition published by Yale University Press. Her monograph Downstream: Encounters with the Colorado River, University of California Press, 2008.