Kate Erhardt of Kamsack is a KCI student in Grade 11 who recently earned a silver medal in the 2021 Virtual Skills Canada Provincial Competition held on April 17. Winners were announced on an online streaming video presentation in early May.
Erhardt said she was encouraged to enter the competition in the photography category by her math and photography teacher, Ryan Gareau. The contest was open to high school students across Saskatchewan in a number of categories including welding, mechanical engineering, fashion, video production, Indigenous skill (beading), and hairstyling, among others. Normally, the competition would take place at a venue, but because of COVID this year, the entire event was hosted virtually.
Erhardt was the only KCI student to sign up for the longstanding Skills Canada program. After registering online, the 17 year-old received an email with criteria for her specific category - photography. The challenge would consist of nine photos to be taken in a 24-hour period.
In the first challenge, artists were tasked to take a photograph of fruit. The same fruit was to be presented in two different ways, although editing the images was not permitted.
The second challenge called for photographers to submit a self-portrait with a spring theme. Again, editing was not allowed.
The third challenge did allow editing, and the competitor was asked to compose a picture with a utensil as the main focus.
The fourth and final challenge permitted artists to choose any subject they liked, and they were asked to deliver both the original (unedited) and final (edited) versions.
Once uploaded to the online competition within the official 24-hour time period, a panel of judges assessed the entries and ultimately determined the winners. Erhardt said the photography category declared more registered competitors than any of the other skills categories.
“Along with all of the other contestants tuning in remotely, I watched the video presentation as each category was announced – waiting for my category,” shared Erhardt. “Then when photography came up, a girl from Yorkton was announced as winner of the gold and soon after I heard my name announced for the silver.”
Erhardt said a love of taking pictures seemed to bloom within her when she was around six or seven years old. She was given a Kodak digital camera for her birthday and her mother made an album of her early work. For the competition, Erhardt used a Nikon D3200 digital camera with an 18mm lens. Although she has never worked with a film camera, she has fun experimenting with her Polaroid camera. As the only person on the yearbook committee at KCI, Erhardt keeps busy documenting the students and staff while strengthening her skill set. Now that she has her own computer, Erhardt says she prefers working with editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
Although unsure of what career awaits her in the future, Erhardt she says she is considering photography. While she loves to do portraits of family and friends, Erhardt dreams to one day offer professional wedding photographer services.