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Q&A with nature photographer Eleanor Ward

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. I lived there until I was 39-years-old.

What brought you to the islands?

My sister and her husband have a home on Captiva, and I’m very fortunate for that, so I come down three or four times a year. My stays have been becoming longer each time – but I certainly have no problem with being in paradise and extending my stays.

When did you first take an interest in photography?

I took more of a direct interest when I had a dog that was being shown, and I really took more of an interest in photography at that time. Over the years, as my children dispersed, I had more time for photography.

If we’re talking about nature photography, I stayed with my grandmother during the week for a period of three or four years because my parents worked. She lived out in the country and one of her neighbors was a woman by the name of Edith Blincoe, who was – and I don’t know the proper name – a “bird woman.” In fact, it ended up that she taught at the natural history museum in Dayton, Ohio. So it went from her being my grandmother’s neighbor – whom we visited quite a bit and who got me interested in birds – to going to Edith Blincoe’s class when I was older. My grandmother also always had a beautiful flower garden; hence, my interest in flowers that developed over the years. My mother did black and white pencil drawings and my grandmother did pastel artwork, and I dibble-dabbled with art. It sort of evolved around itself.

What’s your favorite subject to photograph?

Insects to big cats, and everything in between. Everything except people. Because things in nature, animals, do not tell you “My eyes were closed,” “How’s my hair?” and “That’s not my good side.”

Who, or what, inspires you?

God and all his creations. I don’t think you have to be in a church to be close to God. I’m close to God when I’m outside.

What kinds of hobbies do you have?

I love bird-watching, but I’m not an expert.

What’s your family like?

Very close-knit. This is the eleventh year that we’ve all gotten together on Captiva. There are 19 and a half plus a third of us – the half is my two-and-a-half-year-old great-granddaughter because she is the youngest, the one-third is my grandson’s wife who is now pregnant again.

It’s always been a very close-knit and caring family.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever captured on film?

A picture of a bee that came to lunch on a flower and ended up as dessert for a spider that caught him. That’s the most unique photo I can think of.

Where can people see your work?

At the current time, I have several pieces in Art in the Treetops Gallery (Sanibel), about 68 pieces in Lily & Co., approximately 16 pieces in McT’s Restaurant, around six to eight pieces in Biddle’s Bucket, two pieces at the Royal Shell real estate office on Andy Rosse Lane, two pieces in the Century 21 office on the corner of Andy Rosse, and I have three pieces at San-Cap One Realty. If you ever get to Atlanta, I belong to three art associations there and I have pieces on exhibit at approximately four to five other locations in the area.

[Ward also has a Web site: www.NaturesGiftsPhotoArt.com.]

It’s a relatively small Web site, but near the end of that site, there is a link, “Click here to see more,” and it takes you to another Web site where, if you put in my name in the search box, I have 276 prints.

What are you working on now?

I am entering a new field of outdoor art. The outdoor art is being made in only one size, 26 by 38 inches. It is a gallery wrap on mylar, not canvas, and can withstand any amount of wind, rain and sun. Under the worst conditions, it will last maybe only five years. Under less intense sunshine, that longevity would be extended. Designs are currently limited, but a lot of my current work could be turned into outdoor art.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue with my major photography and sharing it with as many people as possible, so they can see some of the moments that I’ve been able to capture.

Ward will also be exhibiting at the Captiva Island Yacht Club in November.