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Wood Buffalo pictures perfectly at photography awards

Last Updated Oct 31, 2019 at 4:14 pm MDT

PHOTO. Crystal Mercredi (right centre), celebrates with friends as she received the 2019 order of merit at the Professional Photographers of Canada conference in Edmonton on Oct. 26, 2019. Mercredi is the owner and operator of Life and Portraits, a studio based in Fort McMurray. Supplied by Crystal Mercredi.

(CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated the travelling exhibit showing photographs from Wood Buffalo is national. Actually, the exhibit is only regional. Our local delegates also submitted not six but 10 photos for the national competition and six earned nominations.)

The work from local photographers will feature in a regional travelling exhibit, with one receiving a special nod.

Crystal Mercredi is the owner of Life and Portraits studio in Fort McMurray.

She received the ‘Best in Class’ award at the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) conference in Edmonton.

Mercredi said it’s an honour to receive such an award.

“I really look up to a lot of the photographers within the organization and they helped me a lot, so to be recognized for something like this is really humbling.”

Mercredi and other local delegates attended the PPOC conference.

She added sharing the moment with her friends and fellow photographers in Wood Buffalo made it more special.

“We had a delegation from Fort McMurray of photographers go down together, and to be able to be recognized in front of them and cheered on was really emotional.”

Mercredi said the group submitted a total of 10 images for the national photography competition with six earning nominations.

They are part of a regional travelling exhibit touring Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Northern Lights

Mercredi titled her award-winning photograph, “The Night The Ancestors Danced”.

She said the photo of the Aurora Borealis above Fort McKay developed out of happenstance while working in the area with a friend.

“[We] looked out our window, [and saw] that the Northern Lights were out and it was a nice, clear sky. The night that happened was around 1:27 a.m. under “the Bridge to Nowhere”, we got a real explosion with an open sky. So I took the image looking up the river toward Fort McKay.”

Fort McKay holds a special place for Mercredi, who said including the hamlet in the photo is significant.

“I taught in Fort McKay and I do a lot of photography in Fort McKay, so it was an extra special image for me because I was looking toward this community I really care about, while the sky just exploded. It’s just a really beautiful image you can only get here.”

The photo, seen below, won the Best In Class award for 2019 in the Pictorial-Floral category.

Moreover, it earned a nomination along with five other submissions at the national awards.

“We [hope] to have one of the galleries in Fort McMurray bring the exhibit up, so it will be available for the public to see.”

Mercredi and her friends made plans to attend the upcoming national photographers’ convention in Saskatoon.

PHOTO. Crystal Mercredi’s award-winning photo, The Night The Ancestors Danced, won the Best In Class award for 2019 in the Pictorial-Floral category at the Professional Photographers of Canada conference in Edmonton, Alta. Supplied by Life and Portraits/Crystal Mercredi.