Interview with Eleanor Leonne Bennett

It is an impressive thing that you’ve been winning national photography contests since the age of eleven. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your early childhood, and how you came to the art and science of photography?

I have always enjoyed art. The first contest I won was a competition for mixed media, and my poetry has been published. I feel the reason I have chosen to embrace photography so much is because it is more instant. I like to capture a lot; photography is just a way to express myself easily and often. Digital photography is a godsend for those with an overactive imagination. I like to capture what I or others feel instantly.

Your work has a classical kind of elegance and yet at the same time a very tactile, approachable quality to it. At what point did you discover your unique style?

"Left Out in the Cold"

I am very inspired by Alexander Rodchenko and photographers like Joel Sartore. I’m always looking for that thing that haunts me about everyday life and the urban environment whilst wanting to capture something really special and strange in the natural world around me. I like to get a photo no one else has. Even if it doesn’t win any awards, I don’t mind; it is something I wanted to capture and frame forever.


You have a dazzling résumé and website of your portfolio that would lead a person to think you’ve been a photographer for decades. How did you amass your extensive body of work in such a short amount of time? Do you pull 50-hour weeks?

"Bio Pic"

I often wake up at half 4 in the morning and then sleep at 11pm. I am manic. I exhaust myself often. I never want to let anyone down, and kick myself for the rejections I receive. I’m always in fast forward.

How do you set up the shots where you are the subject of the picture? Have you learned over time how better to work with yourself both behind and in front of the camera?

I’ve only just bought a tripod! Most of the time my camera has been balancing on a rock, wall or on the edge of my hand.

I love the photo “Left Out in the Cold,” for example. I had to wonder how you managed to get the shot.

I hope the photo does well—I’m not sure if I should start entering it into photography competitions. I took the picture about 500 times over three days. I managed to find a tree covered in ice that I kicked my way into and sat inside, taking pictures. VERY chilly.

What kind of equipment do you use for your work? Is there anything you don’t currently use, but would like to?

I’d love to get my hands on a Hasselblad or a Phase One camera, or both. I wish I had those kinds of funds. I’ll just have to try and conquer the world with my £300 camera and try and win some more expensive equipment.

I use a Panasonic FZ38 for nearly everything; it is a workhorse and does overtime when it is with me :).

Have you had the opportunity to travel to any of the places where your work was exhibited?

Yep! Every time I’m exhibited at the New Mills’ ArtLounge, I get dressed up and walk down and have a ginger beer.

What would you like to be doing in the next five years? The next ten? What kinds of projects, or courses of study, might be in the cards for you?

I would like to make every photo I take mean something by then. I want to improve a thousand fold. I’m on a mission to create and produce beautiful things.

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15-year-old international award-winning artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, the Guardian, BBC News Website, and on the covers of books and magazines in the United States and Canada. Her work is globally exhibited, having been shown in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and at The Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition.  [Photo: Eleanor Leonne Bennett / Accessories: Jane Faye of Gaia Noir]

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