Elena Helfrecht

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Elena Helfrecht

Name: Elena
Surname: Helfrecht
Year of Birth: 1992
Country: Germany


by ElenaHelfrecht


Q1: When did you start making art?
I started drawing already before kindergarten when I was barely able to hold a pencil. I always had the strong urge to express myself and to spit out all those strong and confusing emotions in me. I went on with this until I got my dad’s old digital camera. It seemed so fascinating to catch and preserve time just like that with a tiny little button. Everything fades but when you photograph it you keep it somehow for eternity. I started with photographing nature as humans seemed somehow impure to me at first. I didn’t like the thought to have them on one of my pictures but this changed soon. I had so many images in my head, so I started using myself as a canvas to bring them to life. Somehow selfportraiture also became a very important help to accepting myself.

Q2: What does inspire you?
I study History of Art because I was always fascinated with imagination and different realities. I am involved with art all the time, I read and study a lot and love going to exhibitions. I get inspired by my own emotions, of course by art (also music and literature) and by all the things surrounding me. Especially when negative emotions come and float my mind I get very productive. I think without doing this my states of depression and disorder would be unbearable. “Agony” HERE, the first part od my Witchcraft project, was created like this in a very spontaneous process. I didn’t even have a tripod with me.

Q3: What are your techniques?
I work with a Canon EOS 600D. The most important part of creation is taking the picture itself. Sometimes I have to try a lot until I get exactly the photo I had in my mind. After that I work on it in photoshop. In my early works editing was the most important part as my imagery was very surreal, but now all I do is mainly colour adjustments and some lights and shadows. By now photography itself is more important than the editing afterwards, though I need both to get what I want. I mostly work with natural light and on location as I don’t have a studio. Sometimes I also play with the lamps I got in my room. For my miniseries “Uneasy Dreams” HERE I only used the google frontpage on my laptop as lightsource for my photographs.

Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
I think you can really subsume my intentions on visualizing human emotions in every imaginable form. Even in my landscape photography there is a certain perception, a special feel or emotion. Some of my pictures are very metaphoric and clear, some are not really explainable in a rational way. I think you just have to experience my art and let your emotions guide you without trying to explain too much. I also love different perspectives. There is no wrong interpretation as every human being lives in a very own form of reality. It’s not important to me that everyone follows me in my intentions.

Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I guess it is really hard to speak of a main colour in my art. It always changes depenfing on the subject and the emotion in the process of creation. I also work a lot in black and white. Sometimes I love soft and pale tones, sometimes it has to be dark, cold, maybe fading a bit to blue as it reminds me of the night. Other times I work with a very light and happy palette (I guess this happens rarely but it happens).

Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
This is really hard to answer. You never stop learning and I always have very precious friends I ask for feedback. In the process of editing I get dull and I’m not sure anymore if the picture works the way I want it to work. When time passes I always see what could have been done better, sometimes I reedit my old works. I think in general I want to try more working with models. I had a great shooting yesterday with an incredibly beautiful and talented model, Fenja Sturm. It was her first time modeling but she worked really professional. It was a nude session outside and it was very very cold, but she didn’t even shiver. The shooting was for my Witchcraft project and will be uploaded soon. Anyway she really impressed me with her presence and I hope to work more with her as also with other models.

Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Currently I’m working on my Witchcraft project which is going to be a huge nude series about feminity and interaction with environment. I think there is an enchantress in every woman and every part of the series is connotated with a different emotion. It is quite mystical, sometimes even playing a bit with classical clichées of witches. I do also plan some exhibitions for next year. One will take place on January 6th 2014 in Bamberg if everything goes well and another one will take place in Berlin from June to July.

Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of Elena Helfrecht.
Emotion, atmosphere, personal

Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
For this picture I didn’t even have a SLR. I used a Panasonic DMC-FZ50. Mentally I guess I wasn’t too well when taking this picture. I wanted to express the fragility of a little girl. There is a lot of insecurity and you don’t know what happened to her. You try to judge, maybe you think she got her first period, maybe she was hurt or she even hurt herself. It is a story of emotions but the final conclusion is completely up to the beholder.

Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
I definately got technically better. I know more about photography and postprocessing and how to create certain effects with it. I also think that my imagery is a bit more subtle now, most of it not so brutal anymore, more soft but a bit intriguing.

Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
I really think neither and both. For me art is everything that evokes emotions. In fact what is reality? This word is just made up. Reality can be everything. As long as it is in your mind it is part of your personal reality, but I don’t think there is something like a general reality. We live in our own little worlds which collide and dance around each other all the time. We can’t escape completely, even if we try. With my art I always express my personal reality and hope people can identify themselves with it. Maybe this is also the essence of life as you framed it.


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