This summer, my imprint 79 rat press will be launching NOTHING TO SAY, a project featuring pieces and collections from some of the very best poets currently writing in the UK, and one or two beyond. There will also be an exhibition after the fashion of the great YBA shows like Freeze and Sensation, and in keeping with our general multimedia approach, our covers, posters and exhibition will feature the work of one of the most exciting new photographers in the UK. I recently got to ask a few questions to the ridiculously talented Eleanor Bennett, who has already won a humungous number of prizes, and has just been made the new children’s editor for poetryspace:
DH: You’ve worked a fair bit with publishers of books and magazines with a very contemporary feel to produce some very striking covers. What is it about your work that makes it fit this role so well?
EB: I produce so much work and so often that it is difficult for my clients to ask for images I can’t provide. My library of images is always growing daily. I had such a passion for reading as a child that converting my exhibited and award winning images to book covers seemed the obvious route for me. Me and my Mum used to take home from my library enough books to break my backpack when I about 6. I was a massive fan of fiction and non-fiction on Egyptian mummies. It shows now in the fact I love doing horror cover art and fiction artwork.
DH: What do you prefer as a subject, the city or the country?
EB: As a choice the city. I don’t often get much time to do photography so when I do I like a large mass of subjects surrounding me all at once. My favourite places to photograph are museums, grand houses, auctions, thrift shops and built up areas. A lot of my newer work survives on texture and clashing. In the countryside outside of the magic hour I can be more inclined to becoming bored. I would rather have too much to photograph than too little.
DH: What one thing would you like to show people about the world?
EB: I may sound naive but I would like to appeal to all tastes with my work. Seeing as I am universally published by so many different countries so often I can say with my work I want to create unity.
DH: With whom would you most like to work?
EB: People who are underrepresented by the media. I notice imbalance in what is covered and what art is created out of. Especially with my cover art. I want to give everyone a chance to become the cover star eventually. Only problem currently is because of my age I’m not allowed to travel to meet those new faces. As soon as that changes I would tell my current audience to expect big changes. I prefer my cover art of contemporary objects as apposed to self portraits for the uniqueness. Because of my current lack of travel I invest in the knowledge that objects can tell all stories.
DH: Your collections have a wonderful feel of both movement through the pieces and unity. How do you go about putting a collection together?
EB: I was putting collections of images together when I was 12. Even making little youtube music slideshows accompanied by britpop and indie music. I’ve always loved technology. And in my very early days practising in that helped me evolve into the collections I compile today. Tone, lighting and composition aid me and make the following featured image in the set almost obvious to what the viewer would like to find next.
DH: You would like to be known as…
EB: the youngest to win the most major art awards in the United Kingdom
DH: You will be known as…
EB: the girl who never sleeps
DH: What do we not look at enough as a society?
EB: the finest art pieces in the world. The type of work kept hidden in private collections, auctioned at Christies and never seen again. Photographs, sculpture, automatons,music boxes, jewellery, historic portraiture ect
DH: What do we spend too much time looking at?
EB: what we are manipulated/forced/coerced to.