Valerie Theoret isn’t a photographer, but she’s displaying her photos anyway.
The local graphic designer was asked to be part of Through a Feminine Lens, an exhibit that opened in Quebec in March and then came to Whitehorse.
The show – photos of women by women – was supposed to tour Canada, featuring works by female photographers from across the county.
But, after some sponsorship difficulties, it ended up only featuring four Quebec photographers and Theoret.
“I don’t do a lot of photography,” she said.
“I work with photography better than I do photography.
“So there were some surprises with how the images came out.”
Theoret borrowed a camera and some gear from coworkers at Aasman Design Inc. and set up a makeshift studio in her basement.
Then she rounded up her closest women friends.
“I decided to portray nine of my francophone friends and ask them how they met the North and their love story with it,” she said.
Smitten herself, with the Yukon’s “sensitivity,” and its outdoor exploits, Theoret wanted to share its secrets.
“I wanted to confront the image of the North,” she said.
Picturing a territory full of “strong, proud women,” Theoret was surprised by the compassion she encountered when she arrived in Whitehorse four years ago.
“It was welcoming and really touching,” she said.
By taking photos of the women who made her feel at home, Theoret hoped to share her story by telling theirs.
“I want people to be able to access part of their love story,” she said.
In one photo Julie Menard’s smiling face is framed by a halo of orange forks.
In another, ephemeral turquoise mittens hide the face of friend.
“They’re illustrations based on photography,” she said.
Colourful text curling around the photos tells various northern love stories of her friends, some with a little more passion than others.
“Some are not completely in love (with the North),” said Theoret. “Some had uncertainty.”
Theoret’s works will hang beside portraits of women in Africa, and prostitutes in Quebec.
The only common thread is that it’s women taking photos of women.
“It’s not negative against men,” she said.
“It’s just focusing on the beauty of these particular women.
“The main theme was images of women, whether it’s their perception in society or our own perception.”
Another photographer has shot female body parts at different angles.
“And it’s not a model’s body, it’s a person with a little more weight,” said Theoret.
“It helps to see the body as a shape.”
The 36 photos by the four artists won’t fit in the room Les Essentielles is using in partnership with L’Association franco-yukonnaise.
“So we have to pick,” said Les Essentielles executive director Ketsai Houde.
“And some are huge,” she said. “As tall as a person.”
Unframed, the photos were shipped in tubes. So hanging them will, in itself, be a creative task.
“We have to figure out how to put them on the wall,” said Houde.
Through a Feminine Lens opens at the L’Association franco-yukonnaise on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
And it’s a jumping-off point for Theoret.
“It’s an incentive for me to do more (art) because usually when I’m done work, I go play outside,” she said.
“So I’m glad I was asked (to participate) because now the ice is broken and it’s easier for me to take initiative.”
Contact Genesee Keevil at