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 the 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. By confronting the intangible, I relate individual experiences to the 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 circular 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.

Curriculum Vitae


  • 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

  • Genova, Other Identity (Upcoming)
  • Amsterdam, Melkweg Expo, Curated by Girls: New Femininity (Upcoming)

  • London, Royal College of Art, RCA Secret
  • Brighton, Photo Fringe, Photo Publishers' Market
  • Berlin, Berlinblue Art Gallery, European Month of Photography
  • Illinois, Aeon Gallery, Rapture
  • 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
  • London, Tate Modern, Offprint
  • London, Subject Matter, Disrupt
  • London, Royal College of Art, Work in Progress Show
  • Milan, MIA Photo Fair

  • Łódź, Fotofestiwal, Trash cans for hearts and people have no soul
  • Paris, Fotofever
  • Milan, MIA Photo Fair
  • Brussels, Galerie Marie Demange, La peau de l'ours
  • Dublin, Gallery X, Still Lives: Honouring the Dead

  • Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, Ophelia
  • Berlin, Cell63 Gallery, All dreams continue in the beyond
  • Athens, Atopos CVC, Unlocked
  • Brussels, Off Course Art Fair

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

  • Berlin, Galerie Morgenrot, Rituals (Solo Show)
  • Berlin, Fotolia Lab, Docma Award
  • Frankfurt, Museum für Kommunikation, Docma Award

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
  • Fotofever, The Collector's Apartment, Selected
  • Photography Grant, Nominee

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

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
  • Steam Noir IV, Cross Cult, Felix Mertikat & Verena Klinke
  • Docma Magazin, No. 60 & No. 75
  • Straw Dogs Magazine, Issue 4
  • Schwarzweiss Magazin, Nr. 99


  • The Royal Photographic Society - 100 Heroines
  • F-Stop Magazine, Nr. 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
  • The Phoblographer
  • Wallstreet International Magazine
  • Lamono Magazine
  • Papercut Magazine
  • Photo Vogue
  • Kaltblut Magazine
  • Kwerfeldein
  • The C-41 Photographic Magazine
  • Art Fucks Me