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Eli Marris’ ‘Hoot’ takes first place in New York State Fair photography contest

Eli Marris of Liverpool is pictured with his first place-winning photo, "I Give A Hoot."

Eli Marris of Liverpool is pictured with his first place-winning photo, "I Give A Hoot."

— Eli said he was drawn to a painting Cullen had done of a boat that looked just like the one he had photographed in Chatham. He told her of his photograph, and it turned out she had a story of her own to tell.

“She’d been riding bikes with her husband and she stopped to paint it,” Eli said. “It was almost the same picture.”

“We went home to get the picture Eli had taken to show her,” Tina said. “She sees with the same eye he has. She noticed the same boat on this back road where nobody goes. It was funny, because her husband didn’t want her to sell that painting. It was his favorite.”

During their talk, Cullen (jocullenart.com) also gave Eli advice about his work, advice that has also been echoed by friends and family members.

“My family has been finding all these magazine contests for me to enter, and Mrs. Straub down the road — she’s part of the family — suggested that I go around to the libraries and ask to show my work to sell,” Eli said. “She gave me an art portfolio to put my work in there. I’m also working on getting my website back up [elimarris.com].”

Eli has been taking photos on his own for some time. He learned many tricks of the trade from Kara Eicholzer, a Family and Consumer Science teacher at LMS who happens to live down the street from the Marrises. He recently obtained a digital SLR camera, along with a two-terabyte hard drive to hold all of his photos (dad Tim said they were taking up all of the space on the family computer). He’s also a member of the Photography Club at LMS, which Eicholzer advises with Barbara Salvagni.

“It’s about 10 people at school who get together and learn about photography together. Most of it is just a reminder of what I already knew,” Eli said. “Every week, we’d get an assignment of a photo we had to take. We also would go on field trips — places like the zoo, Carousel Mall, the Creekwalk.”

Eli said he wasn’t a big fan of many of the photography assignments.

“We had this nail polish thing,” he recalled. “We had to catch the drip perfectly. I didn’t know how to handle nail polish. It got all over the camera. I had to use this remover. It was a mess.”

Still, he said he found even those less-than-enjoyable assignments to be valuable.

“If you have a future in photography, your boss will have you take certain pictures,” he said.

That’s Eli’s goal — a future in photography.

“Definitely,” he said. “That’s what I want to do.”

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