Carolyn was born in Los Angeles and grew up on the east coast of the USA. She studied Media/Culture and History in the 1990s at Brown University. She worked for multimedia companies in New York for many years, but eventually left her office job to engage with the physical world through photography.
Between 2007 and 2013, Carolyn traveled frequently to Central Asia from her base in Istanbul to work on two projects which became acclaimed photo books: Two Rivers (2013), and Wild Pigeon (2014). Her newest book, made in Ukraine, is Internat (2017).
Carolyn is now based in California. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the Lange-Taylor Prize, the Anamorphosis Prize, and a Fulbright fellowship, and her work is held in the collections of the SFMOMA, the Library of Congress, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Carolyn joined Magnum as a nominee in 2015, became an associate in 2017, and full member in 2019.