By Cynthia Reeser with Eleanor Leonne Bennett
Cynthia Reeser (TRon): Some photographers are purists when it comes to digital manipulation of their work. Do you use photo editing software or is that something you avoid?
Eleanor Bennett: I only use IrfanView and Windows Photo Gallery, so for me, post-processing is very minimal. At the same time, I don’t want to have a camera of such high specs that it ruins the fun of attempting any post-processing at all. The more expensive cameras I see seem to mean the less you have to do once you upload [the images]. I’m not sure how much I am behind that because I like to edit after I come home from taking pictures to see how I can edit an image in a few steps to bring out its best. That and also having multiple versions of the same image that you are able to make look quite different. A completely unedited back-up is a good thing to have in reserve.
CR: How do you approach your work—do you begin with themes or concepts in mind, or do you prefer less structure when doing a photo shoot?
EB: My self-portraits are most often planned, with the greater majority of my work being little random moments. Thematically, a lot of these random moments add up to a portfolio with more emotional resonance. There are many images of mine that work well together that were taken years apart. I prefer less structure ideally, but I can work well with both environments.
CR: You are a very young photographer who has already experienced a good deal of success. Could you talk about your career development to date?
EB: I first used my mum’s camera to capture images of wildlife in my garden. I was making a nature notebook for a competition. I unfortunately lost the competition, but I enjoyed taking photos so much I decided to continue and began taking images of everything that interested me. Just after this time, National Geographic was bought for me, and I saw the competition for the See the Bigger Picture campaign. After I entered, my little photo of a horsefly was accepted to be exhibited around the globe. I was only thirteen, and [winning] made my confidence take a massive leap. From age thirteen, I haven’t stopped entering awards and adding to my accolades. Today I can say that I am a published writer, artist, photographer, and poet, and I think in another few years, I will have many more abilities under my belt.
CR: What are you working toward in your career, and where do you ultimately hope to end up?
EB: I hope to win more awards that bear environmental significance. I hope to get gallery representation and an artist agent. I would like to host and curate gallery shows on the awareness of a multitude of different issues. I hope to end up with a reputation of being adventurous, and not tired or dull.
CR: What advice do you have for other budding photographers who are looking to break into the industry or work as professional photographers?
EB: Just hold out when people try to dismiss you for your age. Don’t be afraid to put whatever is personal out there in regards to your experiences. It often makes people realize you are emotionally valid when you have something to declare. In the face of criticism, be someone to be proud of and steer far away from logical fallacies and knee-jerk reactions.
CR: That is brilliant advice, Eleanor. I’m so glad you could be a part of the Tampa Review Online this issue!
Here’s what’s next for Eleanor Bennett…
Eleanor Bennett’s collection of twenty-five images is exhibiting with The Photographic Angle for their Splash of Colour exhibition, and was showcased all through 2013, nationwide in the UK. Her Photographic Angle exhibition dates for 2014 (UK) are:
- 25th Jan 2014 to 29th Jan 2014 Glaxo Smithkline (North Site), Greenford Road, Middx, UB6 0HE
- 1st Feb 2014 to 5th Feb 2014 Kings House & Queens House, Kymberley Road, Harrow, HA1 1YR
- 8th Feb 2014 to 12th Feb 2014 Building B5, 4 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, UB111BQ
- 30th Apr 2014 to 4th May 2014 Forum One, Solent Business Park,Parkway, Whiteley, PO15 7PA
- 7th May 2014 to 11th May 2014 Hamlyn House & Hill House, 21 Highgate Hill, N19 5LP
- 14th May 2014 to 18th May 2014 Quayside Tower, Broad Street, B12HF
- 21st May 2014 to 25th May 2014 382-386, 388-390 & 414-428 Midsummer Boulevard, MK9 2EA
- 28th May 2014 to 1st Jun 2014 12-13 Bruton Street, W1J 6QA
- 4th Jun 2014 to 8th Jun 2014 Bray House, Westcott Way, SL6 3QH
Visit Eleanor Bennett on the web at: www.eleanorleonnebennett.com
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is an internationally award winning photographer and visual artist. She is the CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of The Year 2013 and has also won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, and The National Trust, to name but a few. Eleanor’s photography has been published in The Telegraph, The Guardian, The British Journal of Psychiatry, Life Force Magazine, British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and as the cover of books and magazines extensively throughout the world. Her art is globally exhibited, having been shown in New York, Paris, London, Rome, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Washington, Canada, Spain, Japan, and Australia, amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run, See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010. In 2012 her work received coverage on ABC Television. Her written work has had permanent showcase on the official company blog of Zenfolio. In 2012 she was especially invited by the founder of the Book Creators Circle to contribute an article to highlight the importance of the Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
Cynthia Reeser is the Founder and Publisher of Aqueous Books, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prick of the Spindle literary journal. She has published more than 100 reviews in print and online, as well as poetry and fiction in print and online journals. Her short stories are anthologized in the Daughters of Icarus Anthology (Pink Narcissus Press, 2013), and in Follow the Blood: Tales Inspired by The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (Sundog Lit, 2013). Cynthia is currently working on a literary short story collection inspired by fairy tale lore. Also a senior editor for two association management companies, she lives and works in the Birmingham area and attends the University of Tampa in pursuit of her MFA in Creative Writing (fiction). Visit her on the web at www.cynthiareeser.com.