Interview with a photographer featuring Jacquie Matechuk - Cotton Camera Carrying Systems

Interview with a photographer featuring Jacquie Matechuk

Cotton Carrier: Where do you call home?

Jacquie Matechuk: Home is a small town by the name of Cochrane, Alberta just 20 minutes west of Calgary. Surrounded by an infinite number of back-roads that weave a deeply diverse terrain and wide range of wildlife. 

CC: How long have you taken photographs for unprofessionally and professionally?

JM: My journey behind the camera began about 23 years ago on the circuit of the Canadian Superbike Series. I quickly learned that telling the stories behind the riders and factory teams was more exciting for the fans and organizers than the high-speed action shots everyone else was chasing. For the next nine years, I worked as a photojournalist almost exclusively for the Suzuki Canadian Road racing team. Fast forward to 2018, after an eight-year creative pause, I was invited by Yamaha Motor Canada to capture their Canadian entries at the Aspen Winter XGames. One of those riders happened to be my son, who won his first XGames medal that year. I was approved by ESPN to photograph all the Canadian entries from 2019-2021, so I was also there to capture his next 3 gold medal wins as well (talk about perks)! Work behind the lens was quickly revived, but just as momentum peeked, COVID hit, and everything went back on pause. Sporting events were cancelled overnight, leaving me filled with angst. During this time, I started hanging out more with a couple of ladies I met at our local Cochrane Camera Club. One was an avid birder, and the other was a landscape photographer. Together, we discovered a shared passion for wildlife photography. Today, I get the best of both worlds, capturing both the thrill of sports and the beauty of wildlife. 

CC: How would you define your style as a photographer?

JM: Because my world is one of spectacular chaos, my photographic style has evolved from the significant influences and experiences in my personal life, both positive and negative. Like many, I've faced challenging obstacles, which has heightened my sensitivity to the emotions and experiences of my subjects. Without conscious effort, I strive to capture what I feel rather than what I see, whether it's compassion, vulnerability, fierce intensity, or any emotion in between.

CC: Have you ever gone to photography school?

JM: I had never attended photography school but roughly a year before COVID put a freeze on life as we knew it, I had joined the Professional Photographers of Canada. It was April 2019, and I was anxious to earn a sports photography accreditation, elevating my presence in a highly competitive arena. What I found was an invaluable resource for developing a discerning eye and unlocking the intricacies of capturing a photo that's exceptional. I’m very grateful for the mentorship and opportunities the PPOC has provided. 

CC: Where is your favorite place or thing to shoot?

JM: Those who know me would say there's little I don't love to photograph. However, my favorites are a blend of extreme sports, for the sheer adrenaline and technical challenge, and wildlife —especially bears—to wash away those life challenges and set my mind free.

CC: What Camera(s) / Lenses do you use?

JM: I own the Canon R5 and R3 mirrorless camera bodies and the lenses (wow... I hope my husband doesn't see this, LOL) RF15-35, EF50f/1.8, EF100, RF24-70, RF70-200f/2.8, RF100-500, RF600f/4. But when I first started building up the arsenal, I registered with Canon CPS (Canon Professional Sevices) which allowed me to rent some of the impressive glass at amazing rates. It was ideal for someone trying to decide where to invest. 

CC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get “The Shot”?

JM: I was photographing a freestyle MX event one year and really wanted to shoot from a higher angle, so the image did justice to the massive air these riders were getting. Throwing out heel-clicker backflips, jackhammer cliffhangers, 70 feet over hundreds of screaming fans, I mean c'mon, it was epic. So, I may have "convinced" a tolerant soldier that was nearby; to let me commandeer his tank so I could get the right perspective. I mean… he could have said no. 

CC: Who has inspired you as a photographer? Honestly, I find inspiration in the people I meet every day. Whether it's a brief chat on the side of a backroad or engaging with attendees at events where I'm presenting, learning about their incredible journeys fuels my passion. I will say though, over the past couple of years I've had the privilege of becoming close friends with Michelle Valberg. She is not only an extraordinarily talented photographer, but also a person who embodies the qualities I most admire. Her generosity and guidance have been invaluable to me, and I am profoundly grateful for her presence in my life. 

CC: What advice would you tell an aspiring photographer?

JM: Be fearless. Whether it's exploring a new genre, traveling solo, or making mistakes and seeking help, embrace every opportunity. Life moves quickly, so don't waste it standing on the sidelines. Dive in, take risks, and live what you love.

CC: Can you share a photographic resource you personally use?

JM: I believe it is tremendously important to find your people. Whether that means joining a local club or a professional organization, connecting with a supportive community is key. If you want to travel more, seek out a photography guide who shares your values and style—someone as ethical as they are talented. Who creates an environment where you can connect with your subjects and immerse yourself in the experience. Surround yourself with those who inspire you the most because creativity is infectious. 

CC: How has photography shaped your day to day?

JM: I think photography has become a literal lifeline for me. It's a pure reset from the daily grind and the big obstacles we all face. It creates a space where I can let go, connect with friends, or simply be content in the moment. In this fast-paced world, that's not an easy thing to find. 

CC: Where has photography taken you, and made you experience?

JM: There is no doubt that photography has given me an entire second life to live. From the amazing friendships I continue to build to the incredible challenge of capturing the beauty of sports and wildlife action, every moment is a gift. Then there are the places I get to travel, the privilege of experiencing so many destinations and cultures firsthand. Through it all, I continue to learn about our beautiful planet, her struggles, her tolerance and her tenacity.

CC: Any exciting photographic events in coming up you’d like to share?

JM: It’s going to be a busy year as I continue to put my bear guide certification to work. I start by heading to the pristine sedge fields of the Khutzeymateen in a few days, then headed east with Adventure Canada (Sable Island, Cape Breton and Newfoundland) for three weeks before heading back to Alaska to camp with the brown bears! Somewhere between all of this, I’ll be sporting my giant CFL pinny on the sidelines of McMahon and planted in the dirt photographing the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagons.


Jacquie offer photo tours with a huge emphasis on ethical photography and appreciation for the environment and the animals that call these places home.

She also has an In-person/Virtual event sponsored by Canon (free to attend), coming up at The Camera Store. People can register at: (In-person) or (virtual)