Elena Helfrecht was born in Germany and is based in London.

In 2014 she graduated in Art History and Book Science at Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen and is enrolled in the Master’s Programme of Photography at the Royal College of Art from 2017 to 2019.

Through photography she examines the human psyche. Her images are created from multiple layers of meaning, characterized by a visceral iconography. 

She is influenced by the folklore of her childhood in Bavaria and her active and continuous passion for Art History and Psychology.

Artist Statement

The camera allows me to expose internal discourses and to translate psychological  processes into the visible realm, confronting the intangible and connecting the mental and physical world. An 'inner space' is extended through the camera and into the image. I use objects and skin as sensory elements pointing to the impelling force embedded in flesh and bones, manifesting a dense emotional atmosphere through an affective symbolism. 

In my work, I employ a practice I call „The Matrixial Camera“, related to Bracha L. Ettinger's definition of the Matrix. In this process, the relationship between artist and artwork compares to mother and child: Creation becomes a universal, intersexual and psychological form of procreation. 

Making a photograph is a circular action, implying birth, death, dissociation, and abjection all at once. In the beginning, thought and vision dwell in the darkness of the mind and are then transferred into the womb of the camera, where a palpable reality is impregnated by light, coalescing into a two-dimensional image. A part of the self is killed, the reality in front of the lens sliced and silenced by the shutter, only to be later revived by the gaze of the beholder. 

Through this extraction, it is not only possible to gain a new perspective on the alienated familiar, but also to share this insight and experience.


2017 - 2019     MA Photography, Royal College of Art, London
2016 - 2017     MA Art and Image History, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin
2011 - 2014     BA Art History & Book Science, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen



Arles, Cosmos, Family of No Man
London, SafeHouse 1, One Year Revolv
Tokyo, Vanilla Gallery, 25 Years of Inside Artzine
Berlin, Curated by Girls, Whole - United Queer Festival
Berlin, Curated by Girls, Whole - United Queer Festival Warmup
London, Tate Modern, Offprint
London, Subject Matter, Disrupt
London, Royal College of Art, Work in Progress Show
Berlin, Curated by Girls and Pornceptual, Ocean Porn
Milan, MIA Photo Fair


Łódź, Fotofestiwal: Trash cans for hearts and people have no soul
Paris, Fotofever
MilanMIA Foto Fair
Brussels, Off Course Art Fair
Berlin, Moviemento, Final Girls Film Festival
Brussels, Galerie Marie Demange, La peau de l'ours
Dublin, GalleryX, Still Lives: Honouring the Dead


Berlin, Unframed Festival
Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, Ophelia
Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, All dreams continue in the beyond
Athens, Atopos CVC, Unlocked
Zürich, KH5 Gallery, Cross the Line
Brussels, Off Course Art Fair
Brussels, Berlin Extravaganza


North Carolina, Click! Triangle Photo Festival
Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, There is strong shadow where there is much light
Tokyo, Vanilla Gallery, There is strong shadow where there is much light
Paris, La Cave Showroom Gallery, Cross the Line
Tokyo, Vanilla Gallery, Goth: Dissection and Suture
Berlin, Galerie Morgenrot, Triskaidekaphobie


Berlin, Galerie Morgenrot, Rituals (Solo)
Bamberg, Sound 'n' Arts, Nightmares (Solo)
Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, Reflect: Art is Dead
Berlin, FotoliaLAB, Docma Award
Frankfurt, Museum für Kommunikation, DOCMA Award
Bamberg, Jugendzentrum, Brüche


Whitby, Spa Pavilion, Bram Stoker International Film Festival
Leipzig, Agra, WGT, Nightmares
Heilbronn, ABM-Salon, Schwarzer Abend (Talk with Dr. Bernhard Stumpfhaus) (Solo)



European Photography Award, RCA Shortlist
Revolv One Year Open Call, Selected


London International Creative Competition, Shortlist
International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention
Fotofever, Selected for "The Collector's Apartment"
Photography Grant, Nominee


Docma Award, First Prize
Fine Art Photography Awards, First Prize


Print (Selection)

Omens (Photobook, selfpublished, 2018)
Dust (Photobook, Ed. Pamela Dimitrov, selfpublished, 2018)
Unvael Journal, Ed. Michael Ash Smith, Issue 2
Sabat Magazine - 3: The Crone Issue
Unlocked, Ed. Vassilis Zidianakis, Atopos
The Ópera Vol. IV, Ed. Matthias Straub, Kerber Verlag
Steam Noir IV, Felix Mertikat & Verena Klinke, Cross Cult Verlag
Docma Magazin, No. 60 & No. 75
Miroir Magazine, Legend
Straw Dogs Magazine, Issue 4
Schwarzweiss Magazin, Nr. 99

Online (Selection)

F-Stop Magazine, #88
art - Das Kunstmagazin
Stern View Spotlight, Mai Nr. 94
Rosa JH Berland
Academy Now
L'Oeil de la Photographie
Curated by Girls
This isn't Happiness
Klassik Magazine
Muybridge's Horse
The 405
Cvlt Nation
The Phoblographer
Wallstreet International Magazine
Lamono Magazine
Papercut Magazine
Photogrvphy Magazine
Photo Vogue
Scene 360 Magazine
Kaltblut Magazine
The C-41 Photographic Magazine
Art Fucks Me
The 25th Century
Nakid Magazine

Selected Clients

Freeform/ABC Studios, Bookme, Gallery Books, Golkonda, Edition Roter Drache, Grimace, Johannes Franke, La Fée Verte, Lisa Morgenstern, Plainpicture, Arcangel

Represented in private and public collections in UK, US, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Belgium, France.

Using Format