My practice is imbued with a deep interest in consciousness; a result of raw self-observation and a constant desire to understand the mind. Originating from personal experience with mental illness I started using photography as a tool to reach a state of reflection, initially working impulsively and based on pure emotion. This has not only developed into a general interest in psychology and how consciousness is constructed, but also given me the ability to transform my thoughts precisely into images. At present I work in elaborated and planned concepts, instilled with a visceral iconography that started developing in my early beginnings.

Making an image for me is an effective way to reflect and research on the human condition. The camera allows me to expose internal discourses and translate psychological processes into the visible realm, giving access to confronting the intangible in all of us. Often I use skin therefore as a sensory element pointing to the impelling force embedded in flesh and bones. In my imagery I intend to manifest a dense emotional atmosphere through an affective symbolism.

Photography connects the mental and physical world and distills the inherent theme of separation and coalescence. When making a photograph, we separate a piece of ourselves in the very moment of operating the shutter, and bring it forth into an independent existence. Through this extraction we are not only able to gain a new and perspective on the alienated familiar, but also share this insight and experience with others.



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

Elena’s work has been internationally shown in over 30 group- and solo-shows from 2014 until early 2018, including the Museum for Communication in Frankfurt, MIA Photo Fair in Milan, the Fotofestiwal in Lodz, Fotofever Paris, Atopos CVC in Athens, the Click! Photography Festival in North Carolina and various galleries in Germany, England, Japan, Ireland, Belgium, France and Switzerland.

Articles about her work have been published in collective books like Unlocked by Atopos CVC or The Opera: Magazine for Classic and Contemporary Nude Photography by Matthias Straub, as well as in magazines and blogs like Art – Das KunstmagazinKlassik MagazineSternL’Oeil de la PhotographieAcademy NowC-41MagazinePapercut and Kaltblut.

(Polaroid by Antje Kröger)




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


Solo Shows

2014     Berlin, Galerie Morgenrot, Rituals
2014     Bamberg, Sound 'n' Arts, Nightmares
2012     Heilbronn, ABM-Salon, Schwarzer Abend
       (Talk with Dr. Bernhard Stumpfhaus and Beamershow) 

Group Shows

2018     London, Revolv Collective, One Year Anniversary Exhibition
2018     London, Subject Matter, Disrupt
2018     Berlin, Curated by Girls feat. Pornceptual, Ocean Porn
2018     London, Royal College of Art, Work in Progress Show
2017     Berlin, Moviemento, Final Girls Film Festival
2017     Brussels, Galerie Marie Demange, La peau de l'ours
2017     Dublin, GalleryX, Still Lives: Honouring the Dead
2016     Berlin, Cell63, Ophelia
2016     Berlin, Cell63, All dreams continue in the beyond
2016     Athens, Atopos CVC, Unlocked
2016     Zürich, KH5 Gallery, Cross the Line
2015     Berlin, Cell63, There is strong shadow where there is much light
2015     Tokyo, Vanilla Gallery, There is strong shadow where there is much light
2015     Paris, La Cave Showroom Gallery, Cross the Line
2015     Tokyo, Vanilla Gallery, Goth: Dissection and Suture
2015     Berlin, Galerie Morgenrot, Triskaidekaphobie
2014     Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, Reflect: Art is Dead
2014     Berlin, FotoliaLAB, Docma Award 2014
2014     Frankfurt, Museum für Kommunikation, DOCMA Award
2014     Bamberg, Jugendzentrum, Brüche
2013     Whitby, Spa Pavilion, Bram Stoker International Film Festival

Art Fairs and Festivals

2018     Milan, MIA Photofair, with Luisa Catucci Gallery
2017     Paris, Fotofever, with Luisa Catucci Gallery
2017     Łódź, Fotofestiwal: Trash cans for hearts and people have no soul
2017     Brussels, Off Course Art Fair, with Luisa Catucci Gallery
2017     Milan, MIA Photo Fair, with Luisa Catucci Gallery
2016     Berlin, Unframed Festival, with Cell63 Gallery
2016     Brussels, Berlin Extravaganza, with Cell63 Gallery
2016     Brussels, Off Course Art Fair, with Cell63 Gallery
2016     Turin, The Others Art Fair, with Cell63 Gallery
2015     North Carolina, Click! Triangle Photo Festival: SHVR Pop-Up Show


2018     European Photography Award, Longlist
2018     Revolv One Year Open Call, Selected
2017     International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention
2014     Docma Award, Lehrling, First Prize
2014     Fine Art Photography Awards, Amateur, First Prize


Books / Collections (Print, Selection)

Michael Ash Smith, Unvael Journal, Issue 2
Sabat Magazine - 3: The Crone Issue
Vassilis Zidianakis, UNLOCKED, Atopos
Matthias Straub, THE ÓPERA Vol. IV, Kerber Verlag
Felix Mertikat & Verena Klinke, STEAM NOIR IV, Cross Cult Verlag (Guest artist)

Magazines (Print, Selection)

DOCMA Magazin, No. 60 & No. 75
Miroir Magazine, Legend
Pictures Magazine, 6/12
Digital Design Magazine, 4/12
Dark Beauty Magazine, Issue 13.5 & Issue 36
Straw Dogs Magazine, Issue 4
Schwarzweiss Magazin, Nr. 99
Erlanger Nachrichten, 23.4.14
Fuss Magazine, Surrealism, 4/30/14
Visual Artistry Magazine, May 2014
Feroce Magazine, June 14.1
Fränkischer Tag
Sain City, Issue 10
Inside Artzine, No. 18

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
Beautiful Bizarre Magazine
The Phoblographer
Wallstreet International Magazine
Lamono Magazine
Illusion Magazine
Papercut Magazine
Reflected Faith
Photogrvphy Magazine
Photo Vogue
NIF Magazine
Scene 360 Magazine
Kaltblut Magazine
Wyrd Words and Effegies
The C-41 Photographic Magazine
Art Fucks Me
Artlox Magazine
The 25th Century
Dodho Magazine
Nakid Magazine
Fotolia (English - German)
Arts and Facts
Cóctel Demente
Fluffer Magazine
Kock Magazine


Freeform/ABC Studios - Bookme - Gallery Books - Golkonda - Edition Roter Drache - Grimace - Johannes Franke - La Fée Verte - Lisa Morgenstern - Ryan Notch

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


Using Format