A fellow Cochranite has been recognized for her outstanding photographs by the Provincial Image Competition.
Jacquie Matechuk has been a resident of Cochrane for the past 15 years. Keeping her passion close, Matechuk has always done photography on the side while going about her everyday life. The connections and the opportunities she has gained from her past have allowed her to flourish within Cochrane, the province, and the international photography community.
In April, Matechuk joined the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) because she wanted to get some of her photos noticed. Little did she know her entries would be met with such keen approval. A week ago Matechuk received one of the highest awards for two photos she entered in PPOC's annual competition. Her images "Gravity Defied" and "Embraced By Peace" won the prestigious Best in Class award.
"It's just been a fire pot of knowledge and inspiration getting in with that group and the doors its started to open already. It's a little surreal. The level of competition with the PPOC in those photographic art saloons is the best in our country. The images are just mind blowing so to even be in that competitive ring is just a complete honour, let alone to come away with something like that, it was a very pleasant surprise," said a humble Matechuk.
The photos are judged by a panel of qualified craftsman and master photographers. Anyone is able to join PPOC, but in order to get accreditation, a strong portfolio must be presented. Matechuk professed her gratitude to PPOC saying the support system they have in place allows photographers to excel and progress.
On a personal level, Matechuk owns Cochrane Floors and More with her husband. She continues to reach that creative bone as she works as an interior designer. More recently, Matechuk has landed a one year contract with Cochrane Tourism.
"It's been just the most amazing experience. For as long as we have lived in Cochrane, to learn and experience everything the town has to offer on this level has opened my eyes to what a beautiful place we really live in, how fortunate we are. There is so much more than just what's on the surface if you dig," said Matechuk.
After roughly 20 years behind a lens, Matechuk has created a captivating portfolio. Her work includes sporting events, teams, manufactures like Suzuki and Yamaha, and her most recent work for the Town which include events, lifestyle photos, rodeos and fundraisers.
"I love experiential photography because you are trying to capture the moment and the emotions and the experiences people are going through. It really pulls you into the moment," explains Matechuk.
Among many impressive captures Matechuk has frozen in time is a photo named "Lord Ride With Me." Growing up on a Western farm, rodeo is very personal to Matechuk. The photo has spoken immensely to those involved in ranching and rodeo. Commonly, the bull rider's prayer is said before a ride and Matechuk was at the right place, right time to snap a moment that will resonate with many.
"I really respect and appreciate what they put on the line. It is a way of life, it's not a hobby, it's not a job, it is their existence and they take their lives in their own hands every time they crawl on backs. It was just nice to find a moment like that, something I hope people will see as a bit of a tribute to what they put on the line and how much it means to them," expressed Matchuk.
The two winning photos "Gravity Defied" and "Embraced by Peace" will now travel throughout Alberta for the provincial and regional salon. They will also be accepted in the national salon and travel to various locations internationally with the potential of winning a merit or excellence award.