I am Elena Alexandra. I was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. I came to Hamburg, Germany, and later to Alicante, Spain, for studies. Currently, I live in Hamburg and Málaga, Spain. I am a photographer, professor, and psychotherapist. I create, teach and heal. In my therapy, I also apply art- and phototherapy techniques, uncovering how our unconscious speaks in images. All my professions have in common that I look for and share the beauty I discover within and outside ourselves.
Being a Buddhist, I believe we don’t exist independently; to “be” is always to “inter-be.” The concept of “interbeing” from Thich Nath Than resonates very deeply with me also in the context of street photography. You can perceive and then capture only something that already has a seed in you. Sometimes I feel the connection between myself and the subject on the streets in the form of energy, similar to the experience of empathy.
I am drawn to rich, bold colors, strong contrasts, and emotions I encounter on the streets. I like the depth and intensity. I see much sense in beauty. Bruce Gilden once said, “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.” Some of my street shots smell rather like fine perfume. It’s a gentle gaze I stand for. While there is much suffering in life, I believe you can find beauty everywhere. I am touched and moved by the ordinary magics surrounding us. I want to share them, so I am taking a shot.
I love bright sunlight, so I prefer to take photos in Southern cities like Málaga. But I shoot wherever I am.I take my camera and explore the city, the streets, and the day. I don’t have any intentions. I let myself be led by my feelings, intuition, and the anticipation I feel in the air. You don’t know where it will lead you. It is scary and exciting; it is being free.
I always have my camera with me. Many of my shots are made on the go.
I love to feel life as you do it in street photography. Each moment is ephemeral and unique. Some moments tell you stories that unveil their deeper meaning only later. I like to feel connected to these moments, to be part of them, and by sharing them to connect with others.