Photographer, artist, dancer, wife, mother. Born March 11, 1945, in Toronto, died July 23, 2012, in North River Bridge, N.S., of cancer, aged 67.
Is it possible for someone to fit more than one life into a single lifetime? To all those who knew Carol, it seemed it was possible, as she lived three lives in one.
She was born the youngest of three children in the post-war era of the 1940s, but her formative years were the Sixties.
She began her adulthood fairly conventionally, earning a science degree, getting married and starting a job in government research.
But after five years of this comfortable life, she looked around and saw that “All the artists were having a lot more fun than the scientists.” So she chucked it all and began pursuing her lifelong passion for photography.
She studied photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago, then in London, England. Over the years she refined her approach, constantly experimenting with different forms of expression and mixed media.
In the 1980s, Carol left Toronto for a new life with Gordon Kennedy on Cape Breton Island. They had two boys, and quickly integrated into the local art scene, becoming critical parts of the social fabric. It was there that she became nationally recognized for her photos of the Cape Breton Highlands.
Carol shot portraits of many Canadians, including Nova Scotia’s finest entertainers. In 1997, she received a nomination for a Juno Award for CD photography. In 1998, she won the East Coast Music Award for best graphic design for a CD/cassette, and in 2000 was named photographer of the year by ECM.
Her photos have been exhibited around the world and are in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Canada Council Art Bank, the National Film Board and many private galleries.
Carol continued to embrace life as she passed 60, expanding her horizons and taking on new challenges. She acted with the St. Ann’s Bay Theatre Company, and learned the Celtic harp.
She was an avid cyclist who took regular bike trips with girlfriends. She walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She loved downhill skiing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing and was a fiercely competitive Scrabble player.
After taking up the healing dance practice of Nia in her 60s, Carol began teaching Nia to seniors in her community.
Her motto was “Use it or lose it,” so she kept on moving.
She had a spirit that shone and attracted people to her – she was the life of every party. She offered herself and shared her love of life, nature, music, art and the environment with everyone she met.
Fare thee well, Carol – gone from this world, but never forgotten.
Jennifer Smith is Carol’s niece.