Cathy Carter's work explores the physical aspects and considerations of water: how underwater spaces affect perception, the immensity of ocean landscapes, and the peculiar structural characteristics of liquid, alongside more symbolic concerns. In her photographs, liquid fields and ocean landscapes are contextualized, metaphorically and physically, within the long history of human development. Carter's keen focus helps convey a sense of otherworldliness in water as a medium and the ocean as geographical feature. In her works, swimmers provide a human context to convey the simultaneously terrifying and comforting ways in which water envelops and contains people.
According to Carter, “Water can be thought of as a space of ‘becoming made visible,’ an impermanent space, ephemeral and fluctuating.” With this philosophy, Carter uses her photography to also explore the human experience, focusing on what is ephemeral in our own lives. She makes us think of what is both foreign and familiar. In the end, Carter's photography not only captures spaces, but it also creates spaces for the viewer to consider the fluidity and possibilities of our own lives.