There are some amazing photographers out there, but some, you just ‘click’ with- their images speak directly to your soul, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, global award winner is just one of those photographers, and the fact that she is just 15 years old- well that just blows my mind!
Below is an interview with Eleanor, written by Yana Radilova, I hope you enjoy it…and oh yeah, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to view her works, I’ve posted the link at the end of this article.
Yana Radilova with the fifteen-year old photographer Eleanor Leonne Bennett
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a British Teenager who had has her photography exhibited around the globe in galleries and published around the world in magazines.
She is the winner of the UK National Geographic Kids Photography Contest 2010, The World Photography Organization’s Photomonth youth award 2010 , The February 2011 winner with Nature’s Best Photography and has also won three National Art contests (from the age of 11) with the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives.
In 2009 out of the whole of the UK she was the only entrant placed in the competition (Highly Commended) ran by Airbus and National Geographic called “See The Bigger Picture”.
A few magazines that have published her work include Dot Dot Dash (Australian), Alabama Coast and Alabama Seaport (USA), The Guardian (UK)Revolution Art (USA) , The Big Issue In The North (UK) , RSPB Birds and RSPB Birdlife magazines (UK) and the worlds most popular children’s magazine NG Kids!.
She had also had one of her painting/mixed media pieces auctioned for the children’s charity Great Ormond Street.
You are only fifteen and yet you have won first place in so many contests! I’d like to start this interview with the following question: Do you feel as if you have grown up prematurely?
Definitely not, winning comes from my self expression. Photography is my way of trying to convey all the things that I can not easily put into words. When I was young I felt I was invisible to everyone outside my mind and often when beautiful, strange or funny things happened I had no way of recording them. With photography I feel that I am able to recapture my childhood and all the emotions that were present then.
Who influenced most on your rapid development – family, school, friends or social background?
I am home educated but did spend a short period at school; I can not site it as an artistic influence.
My family currently does not consist of any photographers other than myself but after recently finding a wealth of beautiful vintage photography taken by the Wilde family in the very early 1900s I now believe part of
my “eye” for photography was passed down by my Great Grandpa and Grandma.
I think my mantra above all my influences is that I am only satisfied when I believe I have a photo nobody else has, which is very difficult to take.
I think my social background has definitely played apart, always growing up around nature and learning of the wild and rural environment. The first reason I picked up a camera was to document animal life cycles in my garden.
When did you actually start photographing?
June 2008 with my Mum’s point and shoot. It was for a contest in which you had to document a diary on the events of nature in your local neighborhood. Unfortunately I didn’t win but I found a real love for the camera even though it constantly malfunctioned and cost me a lot to
power. I used to only do wildlife photography now I enjoy portrait, street, abstract, fine art and would love to try fashion, sports and documentary photography.
Do you do special courses on photography?
No, I’ve only had one day of tutoring when I won a day of mentoring with Reza Deghati at the World Photography Festival in London late April 2011. It was an amazing day of teaching though, I will never forget it!
When I first used a camera everything was mainly on instinct and trial and error. I know I have a lot bad habits and I know there are so many things I can improve on. Looking back I believe I could have done better. Every time I win a contest there is some doubt in my mind that maybe my name was mixed up with someone else or maybe I won through luck.
Even though my photography was first exhibited in 2009 I still sometimes find it hard to grasp that my work has been shown in Retiro Park for The International Book Fair 2010, The Canada Cultural Centre for the Winter Olympics, The MTV building in London and outside of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris.
I have days where I doubt myself so much but I realize it’s not my camera taking images – it is my head and heart. As long as I have my principles and have passion for the things I study, I hope I will be able to take photos that reflect what I love.
What impresses you most? Are you easily captivated by the world around you?
Yes, with the majority of my photography being taken at home I have to find new ways of seeing everything.
I love to recycle so called “junk” and incorporate it into my photography. You can find beauty in most things; you just have to look hard.
Even images that are typically melancholy can convey great beauty. I take my camera everywhere. Even in the ambulance when my Mum had to go to A&E. I nearly got told off by one of the nurses, Whoops!
I have never met you in person, but from your photos I can judge that you are emotional, sensitive, innovative and curious. Do you agree with me?
Thank you so much and I would say you are very accurate.
I am also rather obsessive, competitive, hyper and determined, haha.
You are defined as “globally exhibited” in your portfolio. In which countries have you been exhibited?
My photography has been displayed in England, Scotland, Italy, America, Japan, Germany, Spain, France and Australia but is available to a lot more countries as my work is regularly published in art magazines and journals which can be bought and read all over the world.
Do you regard photography as a job?
Not really, I enjoy it so much. Whenever I make art it comes from apart of me that doesn’t associate it to be hard work.
I can wake up at 4am and do it because within me I know how much fun I have doing so.
What is your greatest professional success, in your opinion?
I am not a professional, I am still barely a teenager but my happiest day would have to have been when I won tickets to the World Photography
Festival and met Reza. He is an outstanding photographer and has done so much to help people. He gave me some incredible advice.
I don’t often get to go to events involving art and photography so it was a truly amazing experience.
Do you communicate with other teenage photographers? Is it useful to share ideas with other young people with the same interests?
I love to talk to people that share my passions. Many of my close friends write, illustrate, photograph, draw and design.
I don’t have many young friends who do photography; most people I talk to about what I love are considerably older than me. My ears are always open to critique and advice.
With photographers the same age as me I tend to get very competitive, hehe. I love to encourage other people though especially if they have the same environmental and psychological interests as I do but I have had a number of people reinterpret my ideas and try to pass them off as their own (thank god for exif data!). With things like that happening and the rejections I get I’ve learnt to try and be myself as much as possible and to be very cautious where needed.
Are you interested in other arts?
Yes, I adore most forms of art. The only reason I don’t try my hand at as many as possible is for the sake of hours in the day. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is that to compose a good photo you should study classical composition of painting, sculpture, frescos and the like. I have won three (since age 11) National art contests with the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives for mixed media using materials from the garden. I really want to enter more drawing and collage based art contests this year.
I am always reading art magazines for insight on alternative forms of art; I am so excited of all the amazing talents out there. Art makes me really happy and I am so glad I am too taking part in creating works too.
To view Elanor’s work visit: http://eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com/
For more articles like this one visit: https://mainstreetmag.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/art-in-action/