Story 08: Elena Helfrecht

What is your backstory?

My name is Elena Helfrecht (b. 1992 in Marktredwitz; based in Bavaria) and I am a visual artist working with photography. I completed my MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 2019 with Distinction, after studying Art and Image History at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin from 2016 to 2017 and receiving my BA in Art History and Book Science from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen in 2015.

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What camera gear/editing setup do you use?

I use a Sony A7RII with a flash, sometimes also an LED light, and edit my photos with the usual software.

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How do you achieve the look of your photographs and could you take us through your process?

My work is a mixture between found and staged. I observe the world through a mental filter, and reality often transforms into something else through the lens. I see the image both as a child of the artist and as a space to be entered. Often I find that stripping the image of colours digs a layer deeper, and reveals a structure beneath, the interconnected fabric of reality. Materialities merge. Often I use a frontal light source in order to make these structures visible as good as possible.

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Could you tell us the backstory of some of your photographs?

Many of my photographs hold specific stories and associations, some of them are also based on dreams. My experiences and the environment I live in feeds directly into the images. While I sometimes believe these stories to be enriching for the work, I don't think they hold the only truth, and I enjoy the viewers' various interpretations. I talk about a few backstories on my Instagram.

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What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

Keep doing what you love, don't compromise, be curious, and listen to criticism without taking it too seriously.

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Elena Helfrecht


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Story 07: Nika De Carlo