Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 17 year old international award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organization, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland Trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website, and on the cover of books and magazines in the United States and Canada. You can visit her website at http://www.eleanorleonnebennett.com/
Amoskeag: Your photograph is titled “Dilated Eyes.” Why? What does it mean to you? What do you want your viewers to take from it?
Eleanor: At the moment of the image being taken I wanted to capture a sense of shock but also feeling of being erratic and hyper. The flash causing the pupil to look so large is the essence of the image to me. The viewer should feel what distinguishes it from an average portrait are the subtle things. What is the girl looking at? Why is her hair cut to wonky lengths? Why the purposely over exposure so much that you can only tell parts of the face through mere outlines?
Amoskeag: In “Dilated Eyes,” although only one side of the woman’s face is visible, the viewer can sense the emotion and create a story behind the photograph. How do you come to capture that in your photographs?
Eleanor: It was a self-portrait at a time where I was trying to practice with light and backgrounds. Not being able to afford a formal background I used the door of my wardrobe. Of this you can find a line in the image. This is the between space of the wardrobe doors. I was feeling out of sorts and impatient when that frame was captured.
Amoskeag: What are you looking for when you take a photograph? How do you translate an image in your head into what it will become; the final product?
Eleanor: It comes as second nature to translate. The edit, the frame will not stand in the way of my vision. It is instinct to change the photo to become what my minds eye interprets. I’ll sacrifice print quality and even risk interpolation to get to my aim in an image I really want to become me.
Amoskeag: As a photographer, designer, writer, and content creator, do you struggle to keep these worlds apart?
Eleanor: The worlds meld but the first three genres don’t fulfil me enough to commit to only them. There are a lot of ideas and themes I have fluently in my mind that I draw upon but I know I want to curate when I’m older. I want to do large scale projects you can touch and find dimension in easily. I also want to work with audio and filming for the complete creative experience.
Amoskeag: What impact do you hope to leave through your work?
Eleanor: A lot of the thoughts or remnants of memories left are open to critical interpretation. I like to be challenged and to question what makes myself myself. I want to put this forward to more of my audience but whilst I can’t find the frames to do so my already published abstract work displays this. What does the blood tell you, how about those sullen faces? Do the cracks in our built and polished world just allow for the possibility of another form of better?
Amoskeag: Whose work has influenced you the most, and what do you think sets them apart from other photographers?
Eleanor: I am very interested in the work of Bill Brant, Cindy Sherman and Alexander Rodchenko but I supplement that with work of painters that unsettle me. Zdzislaw Beksinski is so fascinating and was also born on the 24th of February like myself so I’m obsessive over that work at the moment.
Amoskeag: At a young age, you have already achieved so much. What advice can you give to young aspiring photographers?
Eleanor: Care enough to cherish the opinion of those who have the best intentions for you but don’t care so much as to let every meandering utterance ruin your entire aesthetic.
Amoskeag: What’s next for you as a photographer/artist? Hopefully more awards, I am being continuously exhibited with little effort.
I will be being published at my own rate. In comparison to the amount of work being published when I was 14 in bulk so to speak I’ll probably space the same amount of releases in six year period. I’m making time for myself and my privacy in art and keeping the cards held close to my chest.