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 inner space, consciousness, and communication. 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.


My photographic practice revolves around consciousness and its interactions with mental and material environments. I am interested in how inner space is informed and influenced, where it originates and how it can be made visible. Engaging in creative play becomes a direct connection between the internal and external realm. Through this process, I relate individual experiences to collective history and turn personal involvement into a shared understanding.

In employing a theory I call the Matrixial Camera, photography becomes a performative action and an extended form of procreation. Making the image is a cyclical action, entailing birth, death, dissociation, and abjection. The inner space is extended through the apparatus into the image: Thought and vision are injected 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 revived by the gaze of the beholder.


  • 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

Selected Exhibitions

  • Curated by Girls: New Femininity, Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam
  • Envisioning Other Worlds, RAW Labs, London
  • Align, Subject Matter, Online

  • RCA Secret, Royal College of Art, London
  • EMOP Emerging Artists, Berlinblue Art Gallery, Berlin
  • Rapture, Aeon Gallery, Illinois
  • Family of No Man, Cosmos, Arles
  • One Year Revolv, Safe House 1, London
  • Offprint, Tate Modern, London
  • Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London
  • Disrupt, Subject Matter, Online

  • Trash cans for hearts and people have no soul, Photo Festival, Łódź
  • Still Lives: Honouring the Dead, Gallery X, Dublin

Selected Working Experience

  • 2015 - 2017 Fine Art Framing Consultant, Boesner, Berlin
  • 2013 - 2014 Gallery Assistant, Art Society, Erlangen
  • 2014 Unit Still Photographer, Séance, directed by Johannes Franke
  • 2014 Internship, Kunstpalais, Erlangen
  • 2013 Internship, Strychnin Gallery, Berlin

Selected Awards and Nominations

  • Normal Magazine, The Fashion Nude, Finalist
  • European Photography Award, Shortlist
  • Revolv One Year Open Call, Selected
  • Royal Photographic Society, 100 Heroines, Nominee

  • London International Creative Competition, Shortlist
  • International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention
  • Photography Grant, Nominee

Selected Publications

  • Omens, Photobook, selfpublished, 2018
  • Dust, Photobook, Ed. Pamela Dimitrov, selfpublished, 2018
  • Unvael Journal, Issue 2, Ed. Michael Ash Smith
  • Nook Magazine, Issue 1
  • Sabat Magazine, 3: The Crone Issue, Ed. Elisabeth Krohn
  • Unlocked, Atopos, Ed. Vassilis Zidianakis
  • THE OPÉRA, Vol. IV & Vol. VII, Kerber Verlag, Ed. Matthias Straub


  • The Royal Photographic Society - 100 Heroines
  • F-Stop Magazine, Nr. 88
  • art - Das Kunstmagazin
  • Stern Online
  • Academy Now
  • L'Oeil de la Photographie
  • Curated by Girls
  • This isn't Happiness
  • Klassik Magazine
  • Muybridge's Horse
  • The Phoblographer
  • Lamono Magazine
  • Papercut Magazine
  • Photo Vogue Online
  • Kaltblut Magazine
  • Kwerfeldein
  • The C-41 Photographic Magazine
  • Art Fucks Me