Born in Frankfurt in 1954 and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Karen Knorr has exhibited her work extensively including at Tate Britain; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; San Diego Museum of Photography, California; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; Kyoto Modern Museum of Art, Japan; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; and the Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai. Her work is in prestigious collections such as Tate London, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the United Kingdom Government Art Collection, England; Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Centre Georges Pompidou, France; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, among others.
Knorr was awarded the Photography Pilar Citoler Prize in 2010 and she was nominated for the Deutsche Börse in both 2011 and 2012. She also received nominations for the Prix Pictet in 2012 and 2018. As an advocate for women in photography, she was made an Honorary Fellow at the Royal Photographic Society in 2018, as well as Honorary Chair of Women in Photography.
Knorr is an activist as well as an artist, advocating for transnationality, equality and diversity in the art world. She is a Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom.