Born in Seattle, WA, Bella Bennett (she, her, hers) centers her work on an the split between her anxiety about the future and anher appreciation for the little graces of the present. She is inspired by her favorite movies and photographers , art that that excels atin capturing the beauty of small moments., @b.eela


Bella Bennett in conversation with Ana Torres

AT: What was your process for naming your title?

BB: I thought the title would come up naturally, but I struggled with it more than I realized. I went through my Spotify and picked songs that resonated with me and my poetic vision. I looked at their lyrics closely and came up with a short list, also adding some names I came up with on my own. Eventually I went with my own words, Silver Among Copper. I thought this would be a nice visual of my form, as I pride myself on my (not natural) copper hair that is streaked with silver from years of stress. Having grey streaks at 22 is not something I thought I’d be proud of, but I am. I think my hair can be a symbol for my own growth and perception as well as the passage of time.

AT: What have been your sources of inspiration?

BB: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Moonrise Kingdom, The Perks of being a Wallflower and LaLaLand, movie scores and the song Australia by the Shins. Photographically, I love Sally Mann, Larry Sultan, Francesca Woodman and Ahndraya Parlato.

AT: What's your background and how does it manifest in your work?

BB: I was born in Washington state in the winter and I moved a lot. I grew up in Norwood Massachusetts. In high school I discovered my passion for photography. A lot of my work is influenced by my family and my love for nature. I like to make work about the things that I love and keep me positive. I think that's what my work is about: what keeps me going when I don't want to keep going.

AT: What does your work address?

BB: My thesis work talks about mental illness and how it takes away your quality of life, even completely wrecking your views in the world. I want to show the dark aspects but also the beauty within my world and my environment.

AT: How does your work converse with the work you have made in the past?

BB: A lot of the work I made in the past is really similar in composition and concept. I've dabbled with self-portraiture and photographing my family. This work follows a very similar frequency but my techniques continue to evolve.

AT: How has your relationship with yourself evolved over the course of this project?

BB: Time has played a lot into it, it's less about the work than the passage of time and growing. I started this project in the Fall, and I was in a really good place, I felt free and at peace. My mental health dipped once more this semester for multiple reasons, but I am getting back up. It has been a learning curve where I've learned about myself and how things manifest for me, I can see myself from different perspectives. I've gotten to know myself better through this work.

AT: How has your work and your artistic vision adapted to remote learning?

BB: At first I liked it, I'm a homebody, it is my safe space and I got to be around my mom a lot which I loved. It became more challenging as time went on, because I was not challenged to exit my comfort zone. Navigating through this year has been exhausting, especially mentally but I am also doing my best to get back on track.

AT: What do you think past versions of you would think of your current work?

BB: I think my past self would be proud of where I've come technically and conceptually. I've kept similar themes but my skills have definitely evolved.

AT: What is one thing that you are exceptionally proud of this year?

BB: I think I'm proud of myself for having a mostly-positive attitude while dealing with my GI problems on top of remote learning and the pandemic. I've learned to be kinder and more patient with myself, I still work on it, but it's an accomplishment I'm proud of.

AT: What's next for you?

BB: I have no idea yet, but once I graduate I am going to teach photography at a camp for 5 weeks. I'll be applying to grad school and I want to be an art teacher. I don't know about future projects, but I know I want to be a teacher.