Inuvik youth win photo awards

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Two Inuvik youth photographers are being recognized in a big way for their photographic talent.

Alexa Kuptana, 11, and Amy Badgley, 17, both took home awards for their images at the inaugural Arctic Image Festival, held in the community from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2.

Kuptana, a Grade 5 student, won first place in the youth category for her photograph of the streets of Inuvik. Badgley, a Grade 11 student, won second and third place in the youth division, as well as the People’s Choice Award, which was selected through “likes” on the festival’s Facebook page.

Badgley credits a childhood babysitter for sparking her passion in photography nearly 10 years ago.

“She brought over her digital camera and we just started taking a bunch of pictures,” she explained. “Ever since then I just like taking pictures.”

Badgley shoots with a Canon Rebel T3 and says her favourite things to capture are landscapes, portraits and – of course – the northern lights.

During the festival she got to meet one of her favourite photographers, Yellowknife’s Dave Brosha, and participate in workshops on landscape photography, composition and capturing the aurora borealis.

While Badgley has been honing her craft for nearly a decade, Kuptana said she didn’t really pursue the medium seriously until October when the Inuvik Youth Centre offered a photography workshop.

“She was definitely the youngest participant and I don’t think she even really knew what was happening at the youth centre. I think she just showed up,” said Tanyss Knowles, community outreach coordinator with BYTE (Bringing Youth Towards Equality), a Yukon non-profit that ran the two-day workshop.

“She had so much energy. She was just so gregarious,” Knowles said of Kuptana. “She picked up the camera and was just a natural.”

Whitehorse photographer Jesse Whitehead helped facilitate the workshop, and taught youth the technical aspects of photography, as well as how to tell a story through photos.

Once the workshop was finished, Whitehead and BYTE communications officer Kara Johancsik went through the youth’s nearly 900 photos and selected 30 to display at the Yukon Arts Centre.

The exhibit, titled “This is Our Arctic,” ran at the arts centre’s Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery in January and February and centered on the theme of climate change in the North.

Johancsik also sent the photos to Inuvik for the Arctic Image Festival and is in the process of getting the exhibit – and Kuptana’s photos – displayed in the ArtStarts in Schools Gallery in downtown Vancouver. She hopes to eventually show the exhibit in galleries across the country.

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  • […] We’re so excited and proud that the images are being shared and recognized for their message and quality. The judges from the Arctic Image Festival came from Ottawa, New Brunswick, and Yellowknife, and we’re hoping they bring home messages about the photographic talents of northern youth. You can read more about the Inuvik youth’s photographs in the Northern Journal. […]


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