Experimental photographer and educator Ellen Carey, who is celebrated for her avant-garde approach to materials, found her calling when she was a student at KCAI in the 70s. She knew she was creative, but she couldn’t paint, draw or throw clay. She was in the KCAI Freshman Foundation program, which requires every student to explore numerous art mediums when she picked up a camera and the magic happened.

Since graduating from KCAI, she has had more than 50 solo exhibitions, hundreds of group exhibitions, site-specific installations, books, lectures, and more. Her unique work has broken ground in the art world, especially her abstract, minimalist Polaroid Pulls & Rollbacks.


“I fell in love with everything about photography – the camera, the film, and the processing. I loved the freedom and the autonomy that went along with it”