When she was 18, Elena left home and wanted to see the world.
After being introduced to each other by Desta French, I received my first mail from Elena when she was in New Zealand on her first solo trip.
Thinking about her trip, Elena remembers, 'I rented a car and drove and did whatever I wanted to, and then just camped in my car, very down to earth. I wish I’d had a little more time to explore. I think one month wasn't enough time.'
She returned to London, with new memories and fresh photos. 'I constantly want to create memories that I can have at hand. I don’t think I realized when I was younger that taking pictures was a way of expressing myself, it just became second nature. Now I know how important it is for me to be able to hold up a camera to me, to others, to anything I deem important to capture.'
You don’t often catch her without a camera around her shoulders ready to shoot, but there are moments that don’t need to be captured or can’t be captured.
Elena's photos are beautiful, fragile and deep, and are only shot on film. But why? 'I love the imperfection you get with film and the whole process that comes along with it... Not only do you have to consider what you take a picture of, but you have to be present for the given moment.
It allows me to slow down, to focus, to check myself. And the process... man I love it. Developing your own pictures, scanning them in, playing with colour, holding the negative in my hand, getting a magnifying glass and investigating the negative before I even scan it in.
Being able to also handprint my work in the darkroom adds a whole other layer to it. I get to experiment, I get to be vulnerable in the dark where I don't know the outcome, but its growth regardless.'
The lab where Elena works is her favourite place in London.
When she’s not on the road, she spends her weekends there, immersing herself in her work and in the dark.
Elena is also founder of The Earth Issue, a collective of artists and creative professionals working at the intersection of fine art and environmentalism.
'We share a dedication to raising awareness of the beauty of nature, using art and image culture as a driving force for environmental activism. The collaborators aim to highlight a growing interest amongst young artists to awaken society's complacent consciousness towards our planet; to inspire and harness the power of social change.'