A photographer for over 15 years, Shell Bankier, with an extensive, gorgeous collection of unique imagery, brings frozen moments of sea and sky, rhythm and substance onto our walls and into our hearts. She is inspired by the sea and sky, and the space between and beyond.
Shell Bankier has quite a remarkable life story so far. She grew up sailing the oceans with her family on a yacht, giving her a deep love for the ocean. At age 16, she was paralysed in a horrific car accident that ended her father’s life and left her fighting for her own. Learning to walk was a tireless and long process, and she defied all her doctors’ prognoses – she proved them all wrong, slowly rebuilding her life. Since then, over the last 23 years, she has lived with severe chronic pain and the life-long repercussions from the accident.
But photography gave her a lifeline and a new purpose. Shell started her professional photography journey in surf photography, and was the first woman this century to have her work in ASL (Australia’s Surfing Life) magazine as a contributing photographer. She shoots the big cyclone swells that hit the Gold Coast, has witnessed the 30 foot plus waves at Teahupo’o in a tiny boat, and been on the beach shooting big swells at the North Shore, Hawaii. With numerous exhibitions here and in Sydney, and the opening of her gallery, Inverse, in James St Burleigh Heads, Shell worked on expanding her work beyond surf photography into unique fine art prints.
After closing the gallery 10 years ago, Shell has developed and transformed her photography even further, and feels her work now is the most true of any she has produced. Now she creates seascape and abstract works of waves and clouds, the two visual aspects in her body of work tied together by the most vital element of water.
She currently lives on the Gold Coast with her wife, baby daughter and two dogs.