Jennifer Kapala is one of the amazing photographers that was part of our community from the very beginning. She’s been featured numerous times on our website and she has been recognized and noticed on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION so many times so far, but this is the first time she became the category winner on this highly popular contest. Below, you can read the interview we did with Jennifer, get to know her better and her work.
Q: Hi Jennifer! We are so happy to have you here. How are you?
A: Thank you – I am honored to be here!
Q: You have been here with us since the very beginning of the competition and your photographs were well noticed many times in past years. However, this time you are the category winner! How do you feel about this? Did you maybe experience new kind of feelings? Did you expect to become a category winner?
A: I am absolutely thrilled and shocked to be a winner. What I have learned over the years is that you can never or at least you should never “expect” to win an image competition. All you can do is your best work and put forward your best images. In the end, the only person you are competing against is yourself and how you did last time.
Q: Can you tell us the story behind the winning photograph?
A: The image is a personal image I shot of my two youngest boys. Although they are close in age they are very different in looks and personality. So much so, people have a hard time believing they are related. My older boy is pretty independent and doesn’t like to admit he needs his younger brother, but that night I heard him ask his brother if he could sleep with him because he was scared. I went into the room later and saw them sleeping like that, so I quickly grabbed my camera. I was struck by how similar their poses were as they slept and despite many differences, there were similarities after all. It has a lot of meaning to me on a personal level.
Q: Would you be kind enough to introduce yourself to people who are not familiar with who Jennifer Kapala is? Can you tell us more about your personal background, education, things you like and dislike?
A: Sure! I am a multiple award-winning child and family photographer and the 2014 National Association Child Photographer of the Year I live in Calgary Alberta in Canada near the Rocky Mountains. I have three boys and a wayward pug who likes to get into all sorts of trouble. If I wasn’t into photography I would have picked up a paintbrush again.
Q: Why do you love photography?
A: I am attracted to many different forms of art, and used to love painting and black and white film photography. When I got older I stopped doing art for a while, but I missed it. When I picked up a camera again years later, I knew I had to keep going with it. It just felt right.
Q: When did you start photographing?
A: I used black and white film cameras all through high school and used to spend a lot of time in the darkroom, so a very long time 😉
Q: You’ve done many workshops all over the world. What’s that golden advice you give to your students, related to photography?
A: Be intentional in all that you do. Photography is a blend of technique and artistry, so master the technical so its second nature and then show the emotion in your images. And practice a lot. Photography is a tough business so be sure to find people who are sincere and supportive. There is lots of competition out there, but there are also incredibly supportive communities too. Be selective in who you choose.
Q: You’ve stated on your website that you enjoy underwater child photography. How did the passion for underwater photography develop?
A: I love to try new things and was drawn to underwater photography for a while, especially as I love to swim too. I bought a cheap bag to try it out and was immediately hooked! It’s a very challenging form of photography and nothing like photographing on land.
Q: What camera body, housing, lighting, and lenses do you use for your underwater photography?
A: For my underwater work, I use an Ikelite housing, with my Canon 5D Mark 3. I use several lenses, but my absolute favorite has always been my 35 mm. I have started to play around with a LumeCube for lighting as well.
Q: Who do you like to photograph the most?
A: I actually love photographing the human connection and love family and child photography the most. There is nothing better than being able to express what pictures are in my head and executing my vision.
Q: What do you struggle with the most in photography?
A: Black and whites! Seriously a great black and white is actually a very hard capture and I think that’s what always has intrigued me about it. There is such an art to it, and I am drawn to the simplicity and the way it causes the viewer just to slow down and pause – it removes all distractions from the photo so its elements are all that remains. And they better be great elements to work!
Q: If you hadn’t won the Documentary & Street Category at B&W CHILD 2017, First Half who would have done it in your opinion? Can you tell us which photographs are your favorite from The First Half of B&W CHILD 2017?
A: That’s a tough one. There are lots of images that just took my breath away. I really loved the expression and sense of movement in Olga Fedorova’s picture “Trip”. I wanted to know more about the story and meaning behind “White Wind” by Milou Krietemeijer-Dirks who has some very interesting work. I just love Ulyana Kharinova‘s work as well – her black and whites are truly incredible!
Q: If you could give everyone one piece of advice to everyone who plans to participate in the following years of B&W CHILD Photo Competition, what would it be?
A: Keep picking up the camera and trying. Keep pushing yourself to learn, grow and develop and put in the time.