Upcoming Female Photographers in Sri Lanka – an Instagram story 

Sometimes back, a Sri Lankan had commented on Twitter that there was no girl here in the island, who could even handle a camera. I laughed blankly. Really? Are we girls that tech-blind? Ever since Instagram took birth, I’ve been witnessing some of the best female photographers in Sri Lanka. Women, are creative from birth, we are beautiful creatures. That is why when it comes to photography, we excel in it too. Let me introduce you to some of the best female photographers of Sri Lanka, that I came across in Instagram.

Why Instagram? Well, you might feel interested in your friend’s dog’s 25th month birthday party. You might even double tap thirty something photos from your cousin’s friend’s wedding. But, sometimes you need some creativity, knowledge and excitement on your feed. Your Instagram is a great source of creativity, and everything artsy. Here are some Sri Lankan ladies who use their Instagram to showcase things in a different manner, and their pics, I tell you, are astounding in this insta nomad’s eyes.

Have a look at what they have to say.

1. Amalini De Sayrah

A self-taught photojournalist who photographs the social issues, street scenes and destinations – being an avid traveler herself certainly helps it. Being the older kid in her family, her dad gave her a camera one family trip. That’s where she started taking photos – to capture moments precious to her and stories worth a lifetime. Beyond that, her photographs share the beauty of the teardrop island and focus on experiences of different people and communities across the country.

After experimenting the tiny object and how little changes of angles, light could tell stories, it was then she realized how taking a photo was beyond the family trip album. Not only she was the family photographer but was often told to take photos of her friends when they were out together. One birthday, she was gifted a DSLR.

As a result, Amalini put more effort into her work and self-learnt many things in photography.

“I just spent a lot of time with the manual of my DSLR when I received it! It comes from trial and error, whether you’re shooting with a phone or camera. Having an app like Instagram that constantly exposes you to new ways to frame or narrate means you’re ‘training’ whenever you scroll through it,” she says.

Although she uses the DSLR for photographing projects and assignments, she opts for her Asus Zenphone to capture everyday moments.

“While I do love the DSLR, I don’t carry it with me all the time and my phone allows me a lot more freedom to capture small moments, when getting out a camera slows you down and/or makes your subjects feel uncomfortable,” She says.

Often when using Instagram, being honest, really is, important, she thinks. She tells it’s also equally important to be not afraid to tell the ‘tough’ stories. And when you photograph a social issue or a community, often, be sensitive.

“When you’re telling the story of a country or community, it is important to consider contexts and social issues and be sensitive in how you photograph your subject and word the accompanying narrative. I understand that we do need a good dose of just beautiful island details, photos takes solely to capture the country’s beauty, but if you are venturing deeper to talk about people/communities/issues/history, remember to do so empathetically,” she shares some of her observances.

View Amalini’s Instagram profile

2. Minaali Haputantri

A full time law student, part time blogger, photographer and a writer. Minaali photographs lifestyle, travel and cricket but certainly not limited to these areas.

“I take photos because the process is a constant reminder to me that beauty can be found in even the most unlikely things, so long as you make an effort to really see it. I have a tendency to be a little cynical, but photography fixes that,” says the 22 year old law student who often carries her Nikon D7100 to cricket grounds. Although she’s being using her DSLR more and more, most of her Instagram photos are taken from her iPhone 5S.  

Photography has always been a passion, a creative pursuit she laid her hands on. Unlike the rest she tried on, it was the one that stuck. She categorizes herself more as a natural light photographer who learnt everything till date by trial and error.

Minaali, who has an active presence on Instagram says, “The people who use Instagram aren’t just limited to “photographers”. Nearly everyone is on it – people, brands, and blogs – so the potential is endless. I suggest developing your own style instead of trying to imitate someone else’s. It’ll take time, but I can assure you it’s worth it!”

An artist, a cacti lover by heart, Minaali spends the rest of the time in her life devoted to cricket. “Kinda wish it was Minaal Lee,” she finally adds. Her love for the Australian cricket team tells us why.

View Minaali’s Instagram profile

3. Ayshcharya Pinto

Capturing everyday moments through photography was, a passion, always for Ayshcharya, with much influence from her uncle who’s a wildlife photographer.

“After using his camera for the first time, I fell in love with photography because of the control I had over showing people the world through my eyes,” says Ayshcharya who goes by the name ‘sollakella’ on Instagram.

Although she doesn’t focus on a particular area, she leans towards taking pictures of objects and photographing the sky with Canon equipment, mostly and with her iPhone.

Having studied photography from PSSL in recent times, Ayshcharya shares her observances based on Instagram, “Instagram is the perfect platform to showcase your work, but you have to use it wisely, if not you won’t get any exposure. You’ve got to use the correct hashtags and identify which time your followers are most active to post pictures. I have a Facebook page too, but Instagram is more convenient because you can edit and upload all at once. It’s quite tedious and might result in your friends and family thinking you’ve lost it.

“Witty captions are good but don’t always work. Don’t buy your followers or likes, everyone will know for sure based on the follower to like ratio,” she has a wise idea for everyone who is greedy for followers. Give it time, folks!

View Ayshcharya’s Instagram profile

4. Amani Pilapitiya

Amani, 21, a law student who carries the goodwill of her father shares her work mainly through Instagram. Travelling with her family, to places never been before since she was young often helped her focus on lifestyle, travel, wildlife and particularly everything that catches her eye.

She now uses a Canon PowerShot SX 60HS which doesn’t require any extra lens.

“The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, NatGeo photographer Steve McCurry, Chris Burkard, Robin Hammond, Lee Jeffries, wildlife photographers like Shannon Benson and Beverly Joubert while all quite different to each other in terms of style, to me have interesting takes on their respective subject matter,” she shares.

Although she hasn’t studied photography yet, it’s one thing she’d like to pursue in future.

“With instagram focusing on ‘image’ sharing in particular I have become more and more interested in showcasing what I liked to capture because of it,” says Amani who also agrees that gaining a good follower base on Instagram requires time and patience.

View Amani’s Instagram profile

5. Hishma

An 18-year old A Level student who captures the little details of everyday life which most of us leave unseen. Her interest in photography grew bigger after she was admired for her work on Instagram.

She feels Instagram is a good platform to showcase your work, give and get feedback.

“Never over edit your pictures. If you’re using an app like VSCO cam, experiment with filters, temperature, exposure settings etc. but know when to stop. Follow other accounts similar to yours and give feedback. Use hashtags, because it’s a great way of expanding your audience, but use them appropriately,” she shares.

View Hishma’s Instagram profile

We also think Harindi Jayasuriya, Indu Bandara  and Ashini Nanayaakkara – whom we were unable to contact (you can buy Ashini’s printed photographs at Café Kumbuk) share their exceptional work on Instagram.

Refresh.LK congratulates these and other female photographers who put effort and creativity to plan an image worth a lifetime. There may be many inspiring female photographers we have forgotten to include in our list. But you are welcome to tag your photo crazy bff here, it would be a great moral boost for them to keep going. #photographicart #femalephotographers #srilankan #photolovers

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Written by Zinara

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Zinara is a freelance content and blog writer. She hopes to spend her twenties in a meaningful way after quitting science school (sorry ammi) and turning into literature. You could meet her in quiet coffee shops in Colombo almost any day.

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