Photographer's shot of Telus Sky building qualifies for World Photographic Cup

·3 min read
Photographer's shot of Telus Sky building qualifies for World Photographic Cup

There are a lot of images to represent how Calgarians felt this past year, but a Cochrane woman's photograph of the Telus Sky building really hit the nail on the head.

And the photography world thinks so, too. So much so that she has qualified for the World Photographic Cup — an annual competition that names the best images of the year in six categories.

Jacquie Matechuk, a professional photographer from Cochrane, says her image — titled Zip It — was captured a month into the lockdown in April 2020.

"I was basically by myself in downtown Calgary. I had gone down with the expectation of catching some architectural images and figured there wouldn't be a lot of traffic," she told Radio Active on Tuesday.

"It literally was apocalyptic. There were no people."

The desolation of downtown set the stage for Matechuk to not only take her time snapping shots, but also to represent the mood in her photos.

"I had snapped some shots of the Telus Sky building and that ended up being a motivational piece to represent sort of the eerie feel of the COVID lockdown."

When she got home and got to editing, it led her to mirror the image of the building.

"It literally looked like a zipper that was going to pop open," she said.

"Just the thought of these buildings having no purpose anymore and then trying to see the beauty in them or to see something unique about them."

And if you look closely, the zipper also has a small YYC label to represent the city.

Jacquie Matechuk
Jacquie Matechuk

The photographer says she decided to edit the image in black and white since downtown didn't feel "exciting" anymore.

"It was just so indicative of what feeling encapsulated the area when we went into lockdown … I'll always remember the feeling taking the shot."

The competition

The World Photographic Cup is open to any photographer to participate. However, the first step is making your country's finals.

"It had been suggested to me that I should consider entering a couple of the images and that they were probably strong enough. So I decided to give it a shot and entered in four images, and two of them were accepted to represent team Canada."

Of the 17 Team Canada participants, Matechuk says only four of them were finalists, and that her Zip It picture made it in the commercial category.

And just like the Olympics, the scores of each photographer on the team are important.

"In the end, they take all the points accumulated for each country … so there's two separate competitions, really, in one," she said.

"Obviously, you're hoping for your own image to do well, but you're certainly cheering on every other team member to ensure that they're able to pitch in on the points."

So far, Team Canada has never won the World Photographic Cup, but they did place fifth last year.

And while the Alberta photographer hopes for the win, she's also just happy to be included.

"If you look at the calibre of artistry that has come in from all over the globe … it's next level and broadens your perspective more," she said.

Sadly, there won't be any money involved with a win; however, Matechuk says the glory and marketing opportunities make it worth it.

"It's done more to represent and embrace the spirit of photography," she said.

"You get into this because you love it, and eventually you do it so much it becomes work. So it's really nice to get back to the why, the reasons and influence of shooting.… It's about capturing moments."

Matechuk and the rest of Team Canada will find out their competition placement on April 19.

  • Listen to the full interview below:

With files from Radio Active.