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Karolina Karlic

Associate Professor
Photography, Media, Film

Photography, Documentary, Media, Archives

Through a range of photographic media Karlic creates work that widely addresses the intersection of photography and documentary practices, with a focus on systems of labor and industry, globalization, and their impact on the social and environmental landscapes. Karlic has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, residencies, and awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), the Cultural Exchange International Fellowship of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Fellowship, the Hellman Fellowship, the Sacatar Foundation Residency Program, and Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program, amongst others. 


Her research is dedicated to telling the stories of those persons and ecologies who have been affected by the post-modernization of the industrial world. Through the use of documentary art practice as a research method rather than an artistic style, her work seeks to better understand societal, environmental, and industrial constructs by critically making visual notes of them. Her research is aimed at creating a new way to reflect on the possibilities for the visual arts today to deliver an act of criticism. Karlic invites the viewer into a space and environment where historical consciousness is critical to reflecting on our relationship to consumption by questioning photography’s limitations, engaging contemporary concerns around the social impact of art, and elaborating on the distinctions between art and lived experience.


In her research, Rubberlands, a photographic survey that maps the ways natural rubber manufacturing is socially, ecologically and systemically formed, Karlic proposes that rubber + photography are both integral components of the second phase of the industrial revolution. This research proposes that each are equal players in the development of a globalized contemporary mobile society of making and consuming.


Unseen California

Karolina Karlic is the founder of, Unseen California, a research initiative that serves as a centralizing information hub for arts+science+humanities research that aims to build upon and extend faculty led arts research, education and student work in outdoor California classroom laboratories across the UC Natural Reserve System through an interdisciplinary arts approach to visualizing the environmental and social concerns of the California Landscape in the 21st Century. 



Unseen California

Environmental Art + Social Practice M.F.A. Program, Art Department UCSC

Social Documentation M.F.A. Program, Film and Digital Media Department UCSC

Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History


Education and Training: 
M.F.A., Photography and Integrated Media, California Institute of the Arts
B.F.A., Photography, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Honors and Awards: 

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2011, Creative Arts, Photography.

Digital Arts Research Center 239
Office Hours: 
Winter 2024: Please email Prof. Karlic to schedule an appointment
Mailing Address: 

Attn: Karolina Karlic
Art Department
Baskin Visual Arts
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064