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St. Albert resident chosen as World Photographic Cup finalist

Kari Carter's 'Fabricated Beauty' selected in Illustration/Digital Art category

In unprecedented scoring, the 2024 World Photographic Cup (WPC) competition has chosen seven images from Canada as Top-10 world finalists. With 39 countries participating, this puts Team Canada in a strong position to win the international cup. 

One of Team Canada’s competitors in this “Olympics-styled” event is St. Albert photographer Kari Carter, a retired sergeant who served 18 years in the Canadian Armed Forces.  

The announcement was broadcast live from Louisville, KY, on Jan. 29 while Team Canada’s 30 photographers watched through Zoom and cheered each other on. 

“Not in a million years did I expect my image to come up on the screen. I was so shocked, I started to cry and couldn’t stop. The calibre of photographers was so high. Some of these photographers are people I admired for so long, and to be honoured with them was very special,” said Carter. 

The other Team Canada finalists are Alph Leydon (Ontario), Louis-Phillipe Provost (Quebec), Craig Minielly (Vancouver), Kristian Bogner (Alberta), Jacquie Matechchuk (Alberta), and Rabi Madi (Quebec). 

Carter’s submission in the Illustration/Digital Art category is titled Fabricated Beauty. It is a creative head and shoulders portrait of a young woman that “symbolizes the intricate layers of expectations placed upon women.” The image is critical of how our culture puts pressures on women to always look physically attractive and conform to certain ideals. 

The portrait is a manipulated image of her daughter, Brooke, as the young woman was preparing to jump in the shower.  

“She had a towel wrapped around her and I held up a light over her head and took four images. She kept saying ‘hurry up, mom.’ I could tell she wasn’t in the mood,” Carter said. 

As an accredited photographer with the Professional Photographers of Canada, Carter used her digital skills on Photoshop to manipulate Brooke’s eye colour and shape of face. She also added makeup and crackling. 

Team Canada co-captains Jillian Chateauneuf and Gerald David initially received about 600 entries. Using a round-robin style of selection, a group of 14 curators whittled down the numbers to 30  — three images for 10 categories. The 30 were sent to an international committee, who selected the world’s Top 10 finalists. 

“Kari’s photo has a story to tell. It keeps the viewer in the image for a while as you look at the different elements and piece it together in your own mind. It goes deeper than at a first glance,” said Chateauneuf.  

“In Kari’s case, she has the creativity to dream in her head something that captivates people," Chateauneuf said. "On the other side, she has the technical ability to compose her vision, yet not get caught up in the technology while remaining in the story.” 

For the local photographer, experimenting in the digital world expands her artistic boundaries. It’s also a therapeutic outlet from two surgeries and a spinal implant caused by a herniated disc that punctured a vertebra. 

Carter’s spinal injury abruptly ended her career in the military. It occurred during a mandatory battle fitness test where she was required to walk 13 kilometres with a rucksack on her back, dig a trench and drag a weight a certain distance. 

“There were spikes on the bottom of the weight and when I pulled, I created a herniated disc in my back,” she said, adding the incident forced early retirement. 

Currently, Carter operates Northern Moon Photography Studio where she uses her lens to capture people and pet portraits. One of her most cherished services is boudoir photography. 

“I love to do boudoir. It’s more of an experience and it’s very empowering for women. Women have self-image issues, and they should leave here feeling incredible. A lot of them say, ‘I didn’t think I could look this beautiful.’ But it’s just the right angle and makeup. I want women to feel good about themselves. Once they have these images and are having a low day, they can pull out the photos and say, ‘That’s me.’”  

So, what’s making Carter feel empowered? 

“I’m so proud of being a mum, to be able to show my kids you can go through crap, but if you pick yourself up and dust yourself off, you can do anything. I’m showing my kids they can achieve anything they put their mind to. If I wouldn’t have tried, I wouldn’t know how good I am.” 

Chateauneuf adds, “The World Photographic Cup is an innovative and beautiful way to promote Canada on the world stage, and when we can promote it, it gives you a wonderful feeling.” 

Both photographers will attend the WPC Awards Gala on April 27 in Dallas. Judges will announce the placement of each team and the 2024 top team. Additionally, workshops, social events and a trade show will be featured. Since its inaugural event in 2014, the WPC has been held annually in different countries, including Australia, Norway, Italy and Singapore.  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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