(c) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson 2012

Talented young photographer (amazing name alert) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson doesn’t play by the rules.

Oh no Рnot by a long mile. You see, most people who have recently graduated from an undergraduate photography degree course go on to do an assistantship, struggle for a few years, then eventually make it on to their own two feet. 

What did Helen do? Straight out of the University of Gloucestershire’s photography degree course, the talented food photographer won the Sony World Photography award’s Fine Art Still Life category. As you do.

Since then she’s been working as an agent for one of London’s leading photography agencies, using her spare time to continue to build her food photography portfolio, blog or tweet about the latest developments in the world of food photography (she’s a real expert), and to continue to enjoy the benefits of being a Sony World Photography award winner.

Here Helen tells us how she got into the photography:

Who are you?

Helen Grace Ventura Thompson, food and still-life photographer

When was the first time you picked up a camera?

As a child, I had a bright blue Fisher Price camera that I took everywhere. (Amazing! – Ed)

How did you learn your trade?

I took photos all the time growing up, but it wasn’t until I finished my A Levels that I decided to study photography at college, then at university degree level.

(c) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson 2012

Which photographers have inspired you/your work?

Irving Penn, Bill Brandt, Roger Stowell, Jason Lowe, Jean Cazals, Myles New, and Jonathan Gregson.

Name your camera/s of choice.

Hasselblad 500c.

What are your favourite forms of photography?

Food and still life.

(c) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson 2012

Are there any cameras/techniques you’re yet to work with/would like to work with? I don’t own a lot of my own kit, so would love to be able to experiment with anything and everything!

Best piece of advice you ever had?

Work hard and be nice to people.

What’s your ultimate goal in photography?

I write a blog (and series of articles for The Foodie Bugle) on the history of food photography as I think it’s a photographic genre that’s very much overlooked and not taken seriously as an art genre, so if I could convince everyone of it’s significance, then I’d be very happy!

(c) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson 2012

What is your favourite piece of work to date?

Allen Lee Davis’ last meal¬† – one of the images featured at the Sony World photography exhibition at Somerset House last month.

What’s next for you?

Working on some new food photography related projects.

(c) Helen Grace Ventura Thompson 2012

You recently won the Sony World Photography award. How has that changed things for you?

It was such an honour to have won my category. There was so much great work entered – I felt very privileged that the judges chose mine. Seeing my work exhibited at Somerset House and having the images printed in the Guardian was fantastic.

The pictures featured in this article are Helen’s images of death row prisoners’ last meals, for which she won the Sony World Photography award.

For further information about Helen’s work, visit: hgvthompsonphotography.blogspot.co.uk