The Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) have accepted three images from a Fort McMurray-based photographer in its provincial image competition.
Crystal Mercredi has been practising photography locally for years and owns a photography business, Life and Portraits. She was excited to hear how well her photographs were received at an online awards banquet that closed PPOC’s 2020 Light Matters conference on Monday.
Her image, titled ‘Cure For The Blues,’ was Mercredi’s first photograph to win Best in Class in a commercial category. It captures a young girl swimming through an Atlantis Resort pool in the Bahamas.
“It was an enormous honour,” said Mercredi. “I was actually really caught off guard this year.”
For Mercredi, winning in the commercial category is an important step forward in her career and drives her passion for photography. Fort McMurray itself is also an inspiration behind her corporate work. Comparing the size of people to large machinery used in oilsands production feels like something out of a comic book, she said.
“I love taking images of people around big equipment,” said Mercredi. “The juxtaposition of showing the human element next to these larger than life chunks of metal is very exciting.”
In February, the Kirschner Family Community Art Gallery will showcase all winning PPOC photographs from Alberta. Mercredi is excited the gallery will show her work and hopes it will inspire local photographers. For her, the PPOC awards provide an opportunity for local photographers to come together and share each other’s work.
“Every time one of these awards comes to town it makes our photography community a little bit stronger,” she said. “It’s allowing me to take a bit of a leadership role with the other photographers.”
To celebrate the end of the Light Matters conference this year, Mercredi and other PPOC members from Fort McMurray went on a photo walk to capture northern lights. Local photographers often meet for photo walks, discussions and virtual meet-ups with other PPOC groups from Edmonton and Grand Prairie.
“The awards often act as a catalyst for us to go out and push ourselves to new abilities and make great relationships in the industry,” said Mercredi. “That’s the great things about these awards is it gives a little bit of exposure to our work up in Fort McMurray.”