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Alberta photographer wins gold at the World Photographic Cup

Cochrane-based photographer Jacquie Matechuk won gold in the Wildlife category and won Best of the Nation.

A great gray owl looked into the eyes of photographer Jacquie Matechuk as he hunted mice near Cremona fourteen months ago, and since then admirers from around the world have looked at those eyes and responded.

On April 28, in Dallas, Texas, in a room with thirty other countries, the small team from Canada sat on the edge of their seats awaiting the results of the World Photographic Cup.

Cochrane’s Matechuk won Canada’s first medal of the evening: a gold medal in the Wildlife category for “I’ll See You Through the Darkness.” Her remarkable image of the great gray owl moving silently through the air and looking straight at her in mid-flight also earned a Best of Nation Award as Canada’s highest grossing image.

“Time behind the lens is our chance to escape the daily grind and rediscover our creative selves, to fearlessly explore all that this world has to offer. But tonight was about celebrating each other and recognizing the beauty and power of Canadian photography.

“Each of us is so grateful for this amazing opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage,” Matechuk said.

She remembers the moment she took the photo.

Every time the owl left its fence and dived for the snow, it came up with a mouse.

“I probably watched him for a good 20 minutes and when he decided he was done and had his day filled, he left.

“He turned his body and looked to the right, as you see in that photo. And then flew straight towards me,” she said.

And then the owl turned away and disappeared.

“So it was pure luck in terms of that exact moment – ​​which is obviously a split second. You don’t plan something like that, but it’s one of those things where you know it flew by and it’s ‘oh wow, he looked right at me.’

The second moment confirmed the first.

“I started looking at the pictures and thought, ‘God, he did that. He did. I get it,” Matechuk recalled.

She said she had a kind of quiet celebration because she knew she had something special.

“Yes, it was exciting.”

Canada, armed with a medal count that surpasses previous successes, was poised for a podium finish in Dallas, earning two gold medals, one silver, one bronze and three additional Top 10 finishes. Canada’s medals and Top 10 finishes paved the way for a third-place podium finish, Canada’s best performance to date.

“We are thrilled that the world witnessed Team Canada’s photographic excellence this year. With our flag and fists waving, our Canadians took to the podium to receive 3rd place as a team,” said Jillian Chateauneuf, co-captain of WPC Team Canada.

In the Illustration/Digital Art category, Kari Carter of St. Albert, Alberta ranked 7th in the world for her creative image that symbolizes the complicated layers of expectations placed on women. “I am so incredibly proud to have been part of this team. “I never expected seventh place in the WPC when I started this journey, but the greatest joy is seeing my teammates succeed,” said Carter.

The other Albertan medalist was Kristian Bogner of Dead Man’s Flats, with a silver medal.

“It has been an exciting year and I am very proud to take home a medal in the new sports category. My image of Kai Lenny jumping off the Jaws wave in Maui is one of my favorites in extreme sports. I trusted that I was in the right place at the right time to capture this image and this moment,” said Bogner.

The World Photographic Cup, a unique Olympic-style competition, is about promoting a spirit of friendship between countries. The Canadian entry of thirty images included three notable photos in each of the ten categories.

They can be viewed on the Team Canada website: wpcteamcanada.com/2024