Some people just have innate talent. Cape Henlopen High School Junior Bethany Tyndall discovered hers behind the lens of a Nikon camera last year.
And, with only a few art classes to draw upon, she's already making a name for herself. She took home first place in the student division of the Prime Hook Photography Contest last year. It was her first contest. Now, she's been offered her first public exhibit by The Upper Crust, a Georgetown bakery and eatery hoping to expand art and artist opportunities in Georgetown.
Upper Crust co-owner Charles Meade sees a lot of talent in the young Milton photographer and hopes the public will see it, too.
"From what I can see, she has a good eye and her work is clean and sharp," Meade said.
Tyndall's work will be available for viewing through mid-March. This week, she took time to discuss photography, her exhibit and her plans for the future with the Milford Beacon.
Q How did you get interested in photography?
A I've always been an artsy person so this is just another way I can express myself. I never really thought of it as something I would be interested in, though. Then, I went to France my freshman year of high school. When I got home I was flipping through the hundreds of photos I took, never expecting them to be more than the stereotypical vacation pictures. But, my mom and I were awestruck at how some of them looked.
Q You were recently awarded first place in the student division of the Prime Hook Photography Contest. What was that like?
A Well, the rules were that there could be no manmade objects in the photo and the plants and animals had to be native to the area. This was extremely hard for me because I know absolutely nothing about plants. I didn't know anything about which plants are native and which aren't so I had to do some digging to find out what everything was. I think I actually entered 15 pictures because there was no entry fee for the student division. Plus, I just couldn't decide on which one I thought could possibly win. On our way home, after dropping the photos off, I remember my mom saying that even though she thought I had amazing photos, I shouldn't expect to win. But, at the same time, she said that it would be awesome if I did.
Q What was your reaction when you found out that you did win?
A I was home sick when I got the call. When I picked up the phone, a man said that I won and, like a loser, the only words that came out of my mouth were "thank you." It most definitely is a validation of my work, though. It made me confident enough to do things like the hanging at The Upper Crust and the Paisley Moon Salon, another place my work is being shown now.
Page 2 of 3 - Q Are you going to enter more contests now?
A I've actually entered the State of Delaware Employee Exhibition through the National Arts Program and I plan on entering even more in the future.
Q So, out of the 15 photos you entered, which one was the winner?
A It's some sea thing. I'm not sure what it was. It was rolled around in the sand and I thought it would make an interesting picture.
Q Well, on that note, can you explain what you think makes for a good photo?
A To get a good photo, you need to get the settings right. For example, I have a picture of a church steeple with an airplane stream behind it. I took the photo in two different settings. The first setting made the steeple completely black and the sky a bright blue. The other has the steeple in light and the sky is just a dullish blue. The dark one with the bright sky was definitely the best.
Q But, how do you know when you've got "the photo?"
A An artist is definitely their own harshest critic, so after I go out, I load them on the computer. Then, my mother and I look through all of them, picking out ones we like the best. So, that's one way. But, most of all you just have to have that spark of excitement when you see it.
Q Do you have a favorite photographer who influences you?
A I really don't. I'm influenced by everything I see. Sometimes, I see things that would remind me of Monet. Sometimes, I find inspiration by looking through a magazine.
Q What kind of camera do you use? Do you have a dream camera?
A I have a Nikon D3000 that I got for Christmas of 2011. January of 2012 was the first time I went out using that camera. That's also when I got my winning photo. As for a dream camera – Honestly, I'm happy with what I have but I won't lie, I would love to have one of those $10,000 cameras. It's just not practical for a 16-year-old. My mom always says "that's not in Santa's budget."
Q Well, what are your plans for college and beyond? Where does photography fit in?
A I have a lot of plans for what I want to do. I'm interested in everything from anthropology and sociology to social work, graphic design and elementary education. As for photography, I already have friends who want me to take their senior pictures. I would definitely do little events like that if I were asked.
Page 3 of 3 - Q What do you hope people get out of your exhibit at The Upper Crust?
A I hope to just get my name out. But, I also hope for people to respect teenagers as young artists. I also hope adults see that you're never too young or too old to start anything you find interesting.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARTIST
Parents: Susan and Gregg Tyndall
Siblings: Dalton Tyndall, 21 years old
School: Cape Henlopen High School