January 26, 2009

it only took me like an hour to narrow the amount of photos down to what still is a large amount, no BIGZ

Back in November I got a lovely flickr message from "lenaah" about my blog. She mentioned she's a 15 year old photographer, so I took a look at her pictures and only like HAD A HERNIA. Eleanor's pictures are wistfully childish yet mature; in an email exchange she spoke about how being younger gives you a different perception on most things and how sometimes she'll take expressions literally and incorporate them into a shoot. They are similar to Tim Walker's, and she once said in a lexposure.net interview that sometimes she'll see a picture of his and it will be vastly similar to one she was planning on shooting. Eleanor has also been featured on other websites and had a few of her pictures in the recent Dazed & Confused Teenage Takeover issue. And it's no wonder why-Elle's photos have a hint of nostalgia with hope, and though magical and almost fairy tale-like, completely relatable. They are witty and inspiring, like Elle herself, and the fields where she takes them in Oxford, England mixed with clever concepts take you to another world and make you want to explore. Contrary to my complaints about school and adolescense (heh), Elle embraces youth with components of sentiment and innocence in her photos, if she isn't giving an important message about self image or eating disorders. I was honored when Elle agreed to do an interview for the blog, and, like her photos, her answers are fascinating and intriguing.What did you do today?
Apart from taking photos of myself lying in frosty grass in an immensely sparkley circus leotard, and getting myself rather cold, muddy and wet in the process, I ate some soup which tasted weird, threw it away and made some more which tasted okay, watched Marie Antoinette, did some art homework, and put my new website layout up.What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Really posh brands of vanilla icecream are delicious.. also, I can never resist some Ben & Jerry's fudge brownie icecream.
Are the concepts behind your photos intentional? Do you think about a message you'd like to incorporate into a picture and then execute the idea? Or is it more natural how ideas come up, and the message just appears accidentally once you look at a photograph in the end?
It varies.. generally I have an image in my head when I go to take photos; sometimes the final photograph after the shoot comes out nothing like it (which can be good or bad I guess) but other times it comes out exactly as I imagine which makes me happy. Both photography and drawing is like tracing an image from your head into reality, and so you can imagine how wonderful it is when an image is copied perfectly between the two, as sometimes that can prove tricky.
Lots of my photos have concepts too, however again, it varies: sometimes I think of clear concepts in an image, but other times I take a somewhat "impulsive" photo with little concept behind, yet viewers have their own ideas of what the photo shows that I perhaps didn't think of before.
Where did you get those amazing animal masks?!?!
I have three rubber masks which go over your entire head. Two (cat and horse) are from ebay, the other (gorilla) is from Carnival Stores in my town. I also have some high quality plastic masks (rabbit, pig and dinosaur) from a costume shop in my town, however sadly it shut down. Finally, I own some plastic masks that were about £1 from the same shop the gorilla mask is from.. unfortunately, they worth the few pennies I paid for them, as they're quite small since intended for children. I also own a bunch of masks from unknown stores; eye masks, vampire masks.. old lady masks..
Is it difficult for you to lug doors to fields, mattresses to beaches, and baths to flowerbeds? You must be very strong.
I'm weak.. I've only attempted to give piggy backs a couple of times in my life. One of the times I dropped the poor child on the floor. My parents and friends are incredibly lovely and help me carry these large items.. though I try my best to help out. Hopefully I'll get stronger in the future so I can do it myself, but I doubt that'll happen so maybe I'll get a special furniture carrier to help me on all my shoots in the future!
What is your favorite book? Is there any book character you think you identify with?
My favourite book is Noughts & Crosses (and the various sequels) by Malorie Blackman. It's a Romeo & Juliet inspired story about prejudice, romance and tragedy and it's incredible.
My other favourite book (and movie) has to be the Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.. it is just beautiful. In the book the words are handpicked so carefully, the description is incredible, and in the movie version by Sophia Coppola, the beautiful descriptions whcih are diminished by turning a book into a film are made up for with the way the film is done photographically and musically.. the whole story is indescribable, so don't even ask me to explain my love for it, just read and watch it and fall in love.
Another book I discovered when I won a contest at the open day for my school and received it as a prize; it is called River Boy by Tim Bowler.. it's really sweet. It's not the style of book I normally read but this one is really heart touching.
I also love the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Series of Unfortunate Events.. I guess I read a lot.
Book character wise, I'm not sure. I love Scout from to kill a mockingbird, Violet from the series of unfortunate events, and all the Lisbon sisters from Virgin Suicides.. another thing I love about Virgin Suicides is the lack of identification with the characters. They are so mysterious about why they kill themselves and what they feel like, it adds to the charm of the book.
What is your favorite series of yours and why?
I don't really have a favourite series, however some single images of mine which I am most proud of are:
You have a great deal of photos of Blythe dolls..."great" meaning both big and fantastic...what is it about these dolls that makes you want to photograph them? Do the stories you create with their photos come from your imagination or things that happened to people you know you?
I became interested in Blythe when I was about nine, however it wasn't until I was twelve, in early 2006, that I bought one. It was photographing thesen dolls that kicked off my interest in photography, and although I don't take as many photos of them now as I used to, they have a lot of sentimental value to me because without them I never would have begun and kept up taking photos. The photos I took of blythe remind me of a time when my photography was somewhat naive and carefree, and looking back on them, although all the images are pretty bad technically, they make me feel nostaligic and happy when I see them.
Do you think photography is a natural talent or gift, something you need to have a born eye for; or something you need to be very smart and educated about?
I've certainly never had any formal lessons or education on photography.. a creative eye is only part of it.. a lot of photography is will power to put effort into images, to look at the world as if looking through a lens, and just to enjoy yourself. Everything I've learnt about photography has been because of my own interest, and it's only practice and support that has got me where I am now.
Thank you so much Eleanor! To see more of her photos and what inspires her, you can check out her flickr, website, or blog.