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Autistic Rainham teenager showcases talent with photography exhibition

Tom Bell Tom Bell

Sunday, February 23, 2014
6:00 PM

These photographs capture the beautiful landscapes and vast array of wildlife that can be found at Rainham Marshes.

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Tom BellTom Bell

But they are not the work of a professional snapper - they were taken by 19-year-old Tom Bell, whose exhibition was launched at the RSPB reserve on Saturday.

The Rainham teenager, who is autistic, first got behind the lense aged 13 after receiving a camera from his grandparents.

And he hopes the exhibition will be the first of many as he aims to emulate his idols Simon King and David Attenborough.

He said: “I want to do a photography course next year, and definitely want to do it as a career.

Tom BellTom Bell

“In five years I would like to be working and taking photographs for a wildlife magazine.”

When he is not at Havering College in Tring Gardens, Harold Hill, Tom spends his spare time at the marshes - and admits patience is a must.

“Sometimes I am there for an hour or two before I get a good shot,” he explained.

But he is already beginning to reap the rewards for his work, selling six photos on the first day of the exhibion. By the end of his run, on March 2, he hopes to have sold 50.

His father Steve said he has “never looked back” since he received his first camera, and thanked the staff at Rainham Marshes for giving him the opportunity to showcase his work.

“I’m grateful to the marshes for giving him the opportunity to do it. It will give him more confidence in his photography,” he said.

Tom’s work is on display at the Purfleet hide in the RSPB reserve.

To see more of Tom’s work, click the link on the right.

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