Host: Jessica Ng
Publishing date: Feb 2, 2024
Photo by: Kari Carter
Host Jessica Ng: It’s like the Olympics, but for photographers. Canada has a record number of finalists in the world photographic cup this year and St. Albert’s Kari Carter is one of them – part of Team Canada. And she joins us in the studio . . .
How does it feel to be in this calibre of photographers?
It was a shock. Honestly, I really can’t explain it because it was some thing I just never imagined was going to happen. I thought that I was just going to use it (entering WPC) as a learning experience and enter an image and then just take the the critiques along the way, but it happened that it made it all the way to the top 10. . . I was just floored instantly when I saw my image come up on the screen. We were in a zoom call with the entire team, and I see my image come up on the screen I just started to cry, my husband sitting beside me started to cry, it was so overwhelming. . .
Your journey is very interesting?
. . . I spent 18 years in the military but along the way I actually injured myself and was medically released. . . At that point absolutely you just feel like you’re not needed anymore. It’s not necessarily the case, a lot of times this is just what’s going on in our heads, but you just feel like you were in the pressures of it all, you were go-go go and then all of a sudden I could no longer do my job.
In the military everything’s at your fingertips, you are in a bubble, then the day after you have to become a civilian. . . you kind of become lost for a little bit. . .
How did photography help you find your way back?
. . . I needed something for me, I wanted it to be creative. . . so I started looking at my local colleges to see what I could take and photography was one of them. I owned a camera but didn’t know how to us it . . . so I enrolled and showed up; it was sink or swim and I decided to swim!
How did you learn to do what you do because it’s not just a simple photo your images are works of art?
I really had an amazing Photoshop instructor that if you want to be pushed, you could be pushed and he just gave me extra things to learn. . . I wanted to learn all the ins and outs of Photoshop and the programs we use to manipulate images, and I just sat and learned. And then when Covid happened I had even more time to sit and learn . . . Then I joined the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC). They do salon (competitions) every year and that helped me to grow too because you have professionals judging your images. . . I just really dove in and tried to learn everything I could.
How long did it take to put together this qualifying image?
. . . I couldn’t even tell you how many hours because it’s not just something that you sit down and do for an hour and its done. It is hours beyond hours – you get lost in it. It became my mental health saviour because I just loved it. I immersed myself and it gave me purpose. . .
How is the competition going to work?
In the summer you enter an image and it goes through the curations process . . . as an individual you make it past these different levels. . .
On the third level . . . the curators offer suggestions to improve your image to make it stronger. You don’t have to listen to them, I chose to listen . . . It (the image) had different tape at the top and also the catch light in the eye you could actually see me in it, so they suggested that I remove that, just small things. And when I did, I was like, oh I love this photo even better and now I don’t even like the (original) one . . . because I’ve seen the difference.
When I got the email that I was selected for Team Canada. I was all excited and I’m like OK that’s it I’ve won, as far as I’m concerned just to get on the team! And then you get to order a jacket . . . and walk around with The World Photographic Cup on your chest – so that’s great.
Then when we have a zoom call on Monday (January 29th) its the whole team there and these people on the zoom call, like on the team, they’re photographers I’ve looked up to for years since I got into photography. . . I don’t talk because like I idolize these people.
But now you are one of them.
. . . yeah it’s hard to believe, the next morning I pinched myself. Still every day – I can’t believe this – so April (WPC Awards) will be interesting.
“It’s hard to believe, the next morning I pinched myself. Still every day – I can’t believe this.”
Tell us about the photo that got you to the finals?
So the image is an image of a woman’s face, and it’s kind of like patchwork. It’s different blocks of layers, different textures, different colours. One eye is bigger than the other . . . there is text across the forehead. You know her lips are kind of painted on in not the same way as the rest of her face. It represents women and the different layers that they have and the pressures that are put upon them. Women are constantly busy on the go. We have so much society pressures like they look at us we’re not skinny enough or we’re not perfect enough and so this image is created upon all these layers and in just trying to represent the pressures that are put upon us. . .