Elene Usdin is primarily an illustrator. In 2003, she turned slowly towards photography. Favoring his debut self-portrait, she portrays in public and private places, rearranging the spaces around it, or inventing it as fictions. Therefore she claims her desire to leave a mark, to impose her own reality. This new approach is born out of thinking about space and the representation of the body in it.
As a teenager, Usdin developed an ambition to become an illustrator, and after high school she was accepted into L’ecole des arts Decoratif where she studied photography and animation. True to her artistic approach to life, she first began flirting with photography in 2002 through flirting with a boy, “I wanted him to pay attention to me, so I borrowed his camera to give him pictures of me.” Usdin’s images inspired her beau-cum-boyfriend to purchase her first camera, a Nikon FE.
Eclectic in both conception and aesthetic, much of Usdin’s work relates to fairy tale tropes – a journey into one’s dreams and desires as well as the hidden unknowns and nightmares — while other series carry a more critical commentary that involve historical references, such as Femmes d’interieur, which the artist explains as being “a piece of work that focuses on women, on how they are represented in classical art, indeed on the ‘codes’ that surround and determine their representation, from the Renaissance to today.
She won the Picto Price of Young Fashion Photography in 2006, set international Rencontres d’Arles the same year, then at the Farmani Gallery in New York in 2010 and recently at the Theatre of Photography and Nice image. She received the White Card Price PHPA 2011. A monograph of her work was published in November 2013 with Backlight Editions. In September 2014, the Museum of New Art Detroit hosted a solo exhibition of her work. She is currently a resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She is represented by the gallery Ester Woerdehoff.