We have travelled by road from Sydney to Sea Lake to begin my Photographer in Residence (PIR) position with the Sky Mirror Gallery. It has been a busy few days settling in for the next four weeks as PIR. My first task was to create a presence in the gallery with an installation of my previous work. Rohan Mott—the owner of the gallery—does a beautiful job with the sign-writing that promotes my work and Steven—my partner—helps with the fiddly task of measuring and putting up the photographs. When I step back and view the installation, I feel a little less daunted by all the beautiful work that I am surrounded by.
Rohan’s plan is for me to put up my previous work as two series from my previous visits, then work toward a third. The first series is titled ‘Impressions of a Salt Lake’ from when I 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.
Steven and I 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. I didn’t own a drone at the time, but my curiosity had been aroused by the aerial abstract work that I was beginning to see popping up all over social media. Part of the draw of the workshop was that Tim provided drones for us to use and a crash course in how to use it. It gave me a taste for a genre of photography I had never engaged in before. My love of aerial abstract images was born but I was still a little nervous about flying and we wouldn’t actually purchase our own drone till the Christmas of 2022.
Once we had our own drone, I knew we 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 my second visit in May 2023 that the idea for my residency was born. We met Rohan at the gallery and started chatting about photography. He purchased some of my books for the gallery and invited me to be a Photographer in Residence after seeing samples of my work.
Just before the Covid lockdowns—in the early months of 2020—I had been engaged in my first artist residency at FLOAT, a floating vessel on Lake Tyres, Victoria. This time I am on dry land and involved in a gallery, which is not something I have done previously. 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 my stay, there will be an evening of show and tell.
During my stay I will be engaged in a variety of tasks ranging from promoting the social media presence of the gallery, blogging about my photography activities and my stay at the gallery. I 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 my stay. I am excited by the challenge to push myself further.
Interestingly, I have already been invited to be a guest speaker by two of the visitors I met in the gallery. One was a Sri Lankan man from Melbourne who was a member of the Ceylon Society and the other a couple from a Camera Club in Adelaide. 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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