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Shooting from another angle

Finalist for the Pro Photographer Showdown captures majesty of the mountains with a fresh perspective



What: Pro Photographer Showdown

Where: Telus Conference Centre

When: Thursday, April 17, 8 p.m.

While many shutterbugs have their cameras trained towards the skies, hoping to capture a skier throwing down a 1080, at least one photographer takes a different approach when shooting on the slopes.

Kari Medig is one of five finalists competing in the 11 th annual Pro Photographer Showdown at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival (TWSSF).

Medig was born and raised backcountry skiing in the Kootenays, and was introduced to photography at an early age.

“I kind of have always had cameras around, because my parents were amateur photographers, so I always had access to a darkroom and all that stuff,” he explained.

But photography wasn’t initially an occupational goal for Medig. He was actually well on his way to a embarking on a career in biochemistry when he realized he couldn’t spend his life in a lab, so he picked up his camera.

Now, he is based out of Vancouver, where he splits his time shooting in the mountains and freelancing for local newspapers. It’s the latter work that has given Medig a different perspective on shooting action sports, and led him to approach every shoot looking for an underlying news angle.

“I think my strength is definitely more of a photojournalistic style,” said Medig. “I do shoot a fair bit of ski action and sports action, but I’m definitely a lot more interested in the kind of ‘slice of life’ aspect of it — the little stories on the side interest me a lot.”

Medig is sticking with his strength, capturing cultural angles in his photographs, whether they are from trips overseas or back home in the Kootenays.

“I really admire the guys who shoot a lot of action and whatnot, I just think there’s a whole huge story,” Medig explained. “I mean, most of us don’t huck the big cliffs and do a lot of that stuff, so I think that it’s really important to see that, but people who just enjoy skiing or just enjoy being in the mountains, and I think there are little stories there that are often untold.”

He’s also still a backcountry skier at heart; most of his shots are self-propelled, not lift-assisted, and he tends to steer away from the bigger, more popular hills, opting for smaller, obscure destinations. He’s actually only ever been skiing in Whistler once.

But when a filmmaker friend mentioned the TWSSF’s photo competition, Medig decided to put together a three-minute application presentation.