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Photographer in Residence Nilmini De Silva Settles In

Updated: May 8


Our photographer in residence Nilmini has travelled by road from Sydney to Sea Lake to begin her Photographer in Residence (PIR) position with the Sky Mirror Gallery. It has been a busy few days for her settling in for the next four weeks. Her first task was to create a presence in the gallery with an installation of my previous work. Rohan Mott—the owner of the gallery—has done a beautiful job with the sign-writing that promotes her work and Steven—her partner—helps with the fiddly task of measuring and putting up the photographs.


The first series already up on the wall is titled ‘Impressions of a Salt Lake’ from when she first visited Sea Lake. This portfolio has been recognised in both national and international competition, including being nominated in the 2022 Sienna Drone Awards with a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Series Category.


Nilmini and her partner Steven first came here in between two Covid Lockdowns—during May 2021—on a workshop run for both aerial and landscape photography by Wanderlust Imagery’s Timothy and Robin Moon. She didn’t own a drone at the time, but her curiosity had been aroused by the aerial abstract work that she was beginning to see popping up all over social media. Part of the draw of the workshop was that Tim provided drones for them to use and a crash course in how to use it. It gave Nilmini a taste for a genre of photography she had never engaged in before. Her love of aerial abstract images was born but she was still a little nervous about flying and didn't actually purchase her own drone till the Christmas of 2022.


Once she had her drone, she knew she had to come back to the lake to explore it further. It is a perfect place to fly a drone because of it’s vast expanse and the beautiful abstract patterns that can be seen from above. There are no restrictions with flying which is another plus. It was during her second visit in May 2023 that the idea for her residency was born. She met Rohan at the gallery and started chatting about photography. He purchased some of her books for the gallery and invited Nil to be a Photographer in Residence after seeing samples of her work.


.The residency is an opportunity for the PIR to build a body of work, gain broad experience in the photography industry including gallery curation. The process will help raise the profile of the photographer undertaking the PIR program, and deliver increased value to the Skymirror Gallery by growing its portfolio of images, increasing sales opportunities and customer engagement. At the end of her stay, there will be an evening of show and tell.


During her stay Nil will be engaged in a variety of tasks ranging from promoting the social media presence of the gallery, blogging about her photography activities and her stay at the gallery. She will also be liaising with other gallery photographers, assisting with printing images for display, curating the display in the gallery, assisting with sales while developing a brand new portfolio that will be showcased at the end of her stay. She is excited by the challenge to push herself further.


NIlmini has already been approached by visitors for speaking engagements. The visitors to the gallery range from tourist who come here from overseas having seen the lake on TikTok, to local travellers passing through and photographers interested in growing their portfolios. If you haven’t travelled to Sea Lake and live in Australia, consider putting it on your bucket list. If you are passing through Sea Lake in the next few weeks, do pop in and say hello.

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