Kate Ware is an artist with a photography installation at cSpace and Heather, Lucas and Kate interviewed her. We asked questions about her art, inspiration and methods. Read this Q&A to learn more.
Okay, so the first question we have for you was what drew you to the theme of nature?
I have been a fan of nature ever since I was young. My parents were divorced, I was a latchkey kid, I wasn't allowed to go out and hang out with my friends. So I spent a lot of time in the field behind my house just kind of wandering around. And it's, it's interesting, how much you better notice things when you're kind of just thrown into the environment, because there's nothing else to do. And I just, I loved being outdoors, I had some of my best memories outdoors. And, and I think most of all, I really wanted to share the beauty that a lot of people with their really busy busy lives just tend to overlook. Most of the pictures that are hanging at cSpace right now, I took when I was staying home with my kids. When I had kids, they were both actually born with some health issues and I couldn't go back to work. Which by the way, was also a nature related job because I love nature so much. But I really, I wanted to stay connected with nature, even though I was no longer doing that job. And so I would just take my camera outside in the backyard, or when we would go for a walk or whatever. And I would just try to capture those moments of beauty that so many people would just overlook . Like I don't know how long you guys have been in Calgary, but this time of the year is kind of lame and boring, right? Yeah. But if you take the time, there's some really cool stuff going on right now, especially with all the budding trees, and things just starting to pick up out of the ground and the birds that are coming back. So my long answer is right there. But a short answer is I've always loved nature and, and taking pictures of nature to share that enjoyment of it and to reveal the beauty that people might sometimes just overlook. I think that's why I was drawn to nature.
The next question is on what mediums did you choose for this installation?
Photography - and there are actually a lot of ways you can present your photographs. Unfortunately, I no longer have access to a darkroom. So I had to think. I guess I could have made prints on my printer. But it's a little bit different than working in a darkroom. And I wanted something that was really, really bold and really bright and really caught your attention. And so I stumbled across this company that made some just really nice pieces. They have, like aluminium printing and canvas printing and acrylic printing and all sorts of things like that. And when I saw the quality of their work, and they're Canadian, and they use environmental processes as much as they can, I kind of went yeah, that's the company I want to go with. And I started getting a few canvases printed and it kind of took off from there. And that said, there were a couple pieces that didn't quite work the way I wanted to. And so now I'm just being who I am … I've taken those pieces and now I'm trying to collage them or stitch them or turn them into something that will work.
What motivates you to go and take photographs?
Again, it was a lot because I was stuck at home with my sick kids and, and I couldn't really go out and hang out with my friends and I couldn't really go out and go back to work. And I couldn't do those things. But I knew that nature has so many lessons to be shared and so much beauty to be shared. So I would try to take the boys out in their strollers or try to just mommy needs a half hour, daddy you're watching the kids, I'm gonna go on a camera walk. So mostly it was trying to stay connected with the parts of me that I had. When you become a parent, sometimes it kind of takes over your life, depending on your experience. And I was feeling really overwhelmed by it. And being connected with these photos and nature. And it was kind of I don't know, it was just a way to stay connected to who I was. And to stay connected to nature even though I didn't get out as much as I used to. Um, before I took these photos I had had jobs working in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, and working out in Kananaskis Country doing interpretation. So I loved being outdoors and I loved those experiences but I couldn't do them anymore. So even going and taking these few small nature moments trying to sneak them on film, just to have something beautiful to remember and to remind me of and inspire me. It kind of kept me sane
How do you get information about what you photograph? Like the names of certain plants or insects?It's kind of a mixture again, because I have a zoology background. So some of the stuff is just stuff that I've picked up over the years, either through work or just experience. Going on a hike I'll bring my nature guides with me and I'll be like, oh what is that? I want to figure out what that is. And I'll look it up. Nowadays, as you know, we have the beauty of the computer and the internet. So I can look things up quite easily there. But most of the things that I'm drawn to it's just things that I've already known about that I've learned over time.
What would you recommend aspiring nature photographers do to try and get into it?
Well, number one is get outdoors. And simply take the time to go out and not just on the bright sunny days. Take your camera everywhere you go. Because you are surrounded by nature, whether you recognize it or not. Go and seek out some interesting images. I mean, most of us have access to a phone these days, so it's really easy to do. Some of my favourite assignments I'll challenge myself with. One summer I was like, okay, I'm going to take my large format camera, which is big and bulky and kind of a pain in the butt to carry around. But I'm going to take that everywhere, every single day for the whole summer. And I've got some of the most beautiful, amazing pictures, including that dragonfly shot that came from that summer. That, believe it or not, was taken outside of a Walmart. I was going to Walmart to pick up toilet paper of all things and I saw this dragonfly flying around and they had those big shelves with a bunch of flowers and then the dragonfly landed, I was like, opportunity! And so I kind of snuck up and took shots, the closer I got. And I can't believe how close I got to that dragonfly. I got the most beautiful shot, it was wonderful. And then I just also took that moment to just be in that experience to be, nose-to-nose with this dragonfly. And I even reached out a finger and it climbed up on me and then kind of flew away. And I was like, that was the most amazing experience. So I would say that the biggest thing is to get out into nature, and to take your camera everywhere. But (number) three, also remember to take a step away from the camera and be in the experience. I remember one time I was on the shore, and we were in California, and out of nowhere, this sea lion kind of went up right on the shore. And I was like, oh my gosh, I need to dig in my car to find a camera. And by the time I got my camera, it was gone. And that was the moment that I went, you know what, some things you need to experience before you worry about the camera. Right? So it's kind of a learn as you go thing, but definitely those are my top three.
So is there anything else that you would like to add? Or that we haven't asked you?
I guess I kind of just wanted to add something about my main motivation for a lot of the creativity that I do. It comes from a quote.. And I believe it's by Edith Wharton, it's: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” And I really try to embody that. I don't try to go out there to be all sunshine and rainbows and puppies, and everything's great. But at the same time, I also try to go, you know what, there is beauty in the world, even in the darkest times. And I really want to reflect that natural beauty. I want to show that beauty and share that beauty in the hopes that people will really go, we live in such a magical wonderful place like we really need to do what we can to take care of it and notice it a bit more and appreciate it a bit more.