Nikki McLennan

NEW NORMAL comprises a retro display from 2001, starkly contrasted by the bleakness of a masked mannequin from 2020, courtesy of Newtown Vinnies during lockdown.

I started photographing mannequins after graduating from National Art School in 2001. I had received a government grant to open my own business and, while I got off to a cracking start working with Signature Prints, the Actor’s College of Theatre + Television, and NIDA,  I soon found found myself needing new portrait clients. I had also just purchased my first ever digital SLR and was revelling in the ability to photograph the same scene 36 different ways without the expense of developing film.

The idea to photograph mannequins came about, after walking past Surry Hills’ finest op shops on Cleveland and Bourke Streets each day, on my way to Incubator Studios where I had my first office. The op shops’ dedicated staff would make the most incredible window displays with the quirkiest vintage delights. I soon expanded my repertoire to include the equally brilliant windows of David Jones, and experimented with polarising filters to manipulate reflections. This fascination continued throughout my travels where I photographed mannequins whenever I found them, in 29 countries and counting…

An alumni of National Art School, Nikki has been behind the lens for over 20 years, after catching the bug photographing surfer chicks on the beaches of the far north coast. She has won several awards, including the Project Wall at the Australian Centre for PhotographyShutterbug, (2007) in Paddington, City of Sydney’s seminal Art & About, program in Hyde Park (2004, 2016), and the Mono awards, Her work is routinely exhibited in Australia and overseas, and she is a published writer for Capture magazine, detailing her experience as a photographer.

2020 Highly Commended – Australian Photography Magazines Mono Awards
2019 Winner Bronze Medal – Australian Mumpreneur/ NSW Business Excellence
2019 Highly Commended –  Australian Photography Magazines Mono Awards
2007  Finalist – Shutterbug hosted by Chauvel Cinema, Paddington
2001 Winner – Australian Centre for Photography/ Project Wall 

2020 Tortuga Studios, St Peters/ Kaleidoscopic
2019 Tortuga Studios, St Peters/ There Goes the Neighbourhood
2018 Tortuga Studios, St Peters/ Dystopia
2016 Art & About, Hyde Park/ Australian Life
2020 Incubator Studios, Redfern/ Rock & Roll Photography
2004 Art & About, Hyde Park/ Australian Life
2001 First Draft Gallery, Sydney/ Emerging
2000 National Art School, Darlinghurst/ Graduate Show

2015 Capture Magazine: The Art of Newborn Photography
2015 Capture Magazine: The Digital File Dilemma
2014 Capture Magazine: Contemporary Trends in Nude Portraiture

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