A Vermilion photographer recently won three provincial awards at the Provincial Print Competition, held by the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) for Alberta.
Kim Morritt, of Dragon Hare Studios, wasn’t exactly anticipating the honours and said she felt surprised when she learned she was receiving them.
“There are a lot of fantastic photographers in Alberta and there were 140 entries in the print competition, so I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot,” said Morritt. “But I knew my prints were doing really well, so yeah, it was pretty exciting.”
Morritt won the Portrait Photographer of the Year as well as Best in Class for Portrait and Best in Class for Group Portrait.
A graduate from the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusetts, Morritt considers Dragon Hare Studios her life. She’s been running the studio full time with her husband Brian ever since graduating. The two named the studio after their respective Chinese zodiac signs.
“The dragon is Brian and I’m the hare,” she said.
Morritt said she’s always loved photography but growing up in a small town, never considered it as a career. She was originally trained as a geneticist, having worked in labs for a while and this in part attributes to the technical approach she takes to pictures.
“I worked in cancer research labs for 10 years, but it was too dry,” she said. “And photography, I approach from a very technical standpoint because photography is actually the science of light. So when I’m photographing, everything has to be technically perfect.”
Because of the work she puts in to make everything just right, she said her images need little Photoshop work after they’re captured, only minor touch ups to fix blemishes.
Morritt’s goals as a photographer are geared toward taking pictures of people and showing them how the world sees them.
“They always see themselves in a way that’s different from what everybody who loves them sees,” she said. “They always say, like, ‘My hips are too big or my arms aren’t nice,’ or whatever it is. But nobody who loves them sees that, so what I truly love to do is take a photograph of someone and show them how beautiful they are and show them how the rest of the world sees them.”
Despite all the awards, Morritt still pushes to improve her skills by continuously entering competitions and trying for accreditations. She also joined the PPOC because she feels these things will speak for her abilities. There is no exam or official qualification to become a photographer, so these honours speak for her work.
“For me that’s a huge thing because this summer alone I had five brides in here crying their eyes out because their wedding photos were ruined by people who didn’t have experience to be doing that job,” said Morritt.
“So that for me is a huge reason why I go after print competitions, because print competitions are judged by master photographers from across Alberta. My images are being reviewed by photographers that are better than me and are telling me what I’m doing wrong and ways to improve it.”