“Everyone was having a hard time figuring out the math where we were sitting. We knew we were close,”
Representing the Team Canada photography team, Cochrane photographer Jacquie Matechuk won a bronze medal at the Photography World Cup for her digital composition “Zip It”.
Matechuk said she was at home with her husband, connected via Zoom to the rest of the Canadian team, watching the awards ceremony broadcast on her computer when she found out she had won bronze.
“I was really happy not to be alone because I was making a lot of noise. It would have been awkward in a large room on my own, ”she said. “We were all gathered today, the whole team from Canada, the finalists, the conservatives, the judges, the former team members, we got together virtually to watch it all unfold.
The way the announcements worked during the ceremony, explained Matechuk, is for the presenter to start with the 10th place photo and work his way to the first place.
As photo after photo was announced, Matechuk had a growing sense of excitement over his chances of getting on the podium at the end of the show.
“The first three or four got away and my heart really started to skip a few beats,” she said. “I was deeply hoping for half of the top five. Then we got past fifth place, and I sat here with my husband going “ not fourth, not fourth, not fourth. ”
When they announced fourth place and Matechuk realized she had a medal in the competition, she and her teammates exploded with excitement.
“They announced someone else, which meant there was a medal at stake. We all blew up and started cheering,” she said.
It was a historic moment in the history of Canadian photography, said Matechuk, as fellow Team Canada photographer Louis-Philippe Provost also won a silver medal in the same category.
“We ended up winning a bronze medal and a silver medal, which is the first time Canada has double-podiumed in any class as well,” she said.
The reprieve from an anxious wait was short, according to Matechuk. With the money from Provost and Team Canada photographers Stephanie Lachance and Ammara Sadiq placing ninth and sixth respectively, Team Canada hopes to reach the podium as the group grows.
“We picked a ninth and a sixth in portrait, and everyone was having a hard time figuring out the math, where we were sitting – we knew we were close,” she said. “Spain still had a few podiums and we knew Australia had already done well in the top three classes so we just didn’t know where we were going to enter as a team.”
As it turned out, Team Canada won an unprecedented third place at the Photography World Cup, which is a first for the country.
“It was so tight,” said Matechuk. “They literally said hundredths of a point from one winning image to the next. It really put us in perspective. Every stitch, every micro-stitch, every feature really mattered. “
When the top three teams were revealed and Canada placed third, she said the team broke.
“Everyone was pumping and screaming. I didn’t hear anything because we were making noise and I don’t think anyone can hear anything either, ”said Matechuk. “Everyone was partying. This is something they have worked towards for many years and failed, not by many. I think last year they were fifth.
Although she was hoping for a placement for herself and her team, the podium result was something she didn’t expect.
“That’s the thing about art, is that it’s based on perception,” she said. “One person never looks twice and another person connects deeply to it. You are dealing with judges from all over the world, all with different influences, tastes and styles.
“If you were to take all of these same images and present them to a whole new panel of judges next year, I don’t think you would see the same result.”
Matechuk said that every photography competition she entered had helped her grow as an artist, but this was the first time she had entered a photography competition with a team. Having this supportive network of talented teammates, all focused on the best of each other’s art, has been a fantastic learning experience for her.
“You were never alone in all of this, it was so much fun having so many other photo geeks to share it with,” she said.
Matechuk said she was ready to start preparing her portfolio for next year’s competition and even hopes to become a National Judge of Canada’s Professional Photographers this year, which she believes should help her better understand the fine detail of creating images worthy of a contest.