Elena Shumilova’s Dream


Image courtesy of Elena Shumilova

In spring 2012,  Russian architect and mother Elena Shumilova got her first DSLR camera, and by Christmas the same year she became a renowned photographer. In early 2014 her name was all over the internet, and by the end of the year she had been featured in media worldwide. Her story is nothing short of magic.

I saw Elena’s photographs on Flickr in April 2013 and fell in love with them. Back then I had almost zero chance of ever meeting her. I could only dream.

Like in a fairy tale, my dreams came true. Elena Shumilova and Brendan Diver ( Photos From Ireland) hosted her first ever European photography workshop in a beautiful village of Ballyliffin, Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal. I had enrolled for the workshop to have the time of my life. Here is my first post if you missed it.

elena shumilova workshop

The luckiest part of it was that I had been helping Elena with interpreting – very little, in fact, since she has good conversational English, but because of this interpreting I had the opportunity to talk with her and to know her as a person.

Elena’s beautiful face radiates that kind of inner peace, you immediately know that she would never pass judgment, never envy, fight, or hate. She is down to earth, caring, intelligent, focused and mature.

Elena says that the famous dog was never photogenic and she almost gave up on him. Then, one day, the photograph ‘just happened’.

elena shumilova

Image courtesy of Elena Shumilova

Inspiration is crucial, and it should be limitless. Don’t start if you are not inspired. No technical skill will make your viewer empathize with your work. Only the soul and emotional pulse of your photograph matters.

My advice – it is not necessary to look for inspiration in faraway places. Rather, look deep within yourself, your home, your backyard, familiar view from your window. People often get bored with their familiar surroundings and want to leave them for something more exciting, even if it is only in their dreams. I think that it is very important to retain the thrill and fondness for your surroundings, and at the same time focus your eyes and your mind on creating an aesthetically perfect story during both shooting and editing’ – Elena Shumilova

elena shumilova

Image courtesy of Elena Shumilova

When should we look for inspiration?  Elena suggests that we should look for inspiration even when we feel down, when we are going through the difficult times in our life. It is when we can be most creative.

‘Shoot when the season isn’t ‘beautiful’ in traditional sense, when the trees aren’t golden anymore, their branches stripped of leaves; overcast skies, dirty melting snow, puddles of slush and mud; withered, colorless grass. Wind, snow, rain – everything can look attractive and make a great photograph. Beauty isn’t only about sunshine, lush green grass and blooming flowers.’ – Elena Shumilova

elena shumilova

Image courtesy of Elena Shumilova

Elena rarely takes full face shots.  She believes that your body  expresses emotion  better than your face. Poses and gestures are the best story tellers.


Image courtesy of Elena Shumilova

Elena Shumilova’s Photography Workshop was run under the motto Turn Your Dream into Pictures. These words reveal the core of Elena’s exceptional standing as an artist. It was a great experience to see her work; to see how her vision had planted seeds of creativity in her students.

elena shumilova

elena shumilova

Below, two of Elena’s images from the photo shoot in Inishowen.

elena shumilova

elena shumilova

Images courtesy of Elena Shumilova

What is Elena’s personal dream? She wants to make a film. Best of luck with that, Elena! Thank you for these three days of magic and inspiration!

You can see and purchase Elena Shumilova’s artwork here.

More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!


    1. Thank you so much for reading! It posted itself last night without me knowing… I must have pressed a wrong button… Should have waited until Friday…

  1. Hi Inese. This is a lovely biographical post. I’ve seen Elena’s photos before, though I wouldn’t have recognized her name. The photos really do speak strongly, and in such a positive way. Hugs to you both. Have a wonderful Wednesday. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Teagan! I was surprised to find this post already published because it was supposed to go live on Friday, but probably when I copied it to send it to Elena for approval, I pressed a wrong button… Oh well… Good it was all done and I don’t have to feel embarrassed. My old age started to annoy me though…
      Have a great day! Hugs!!!

  2. Ms inese, wonderful story and images. And I agree whole heartedly what she said about loving and embracing where you live. Excellent post! Very, very well done indeed …

  3. She certainly sounds inspirational! Her photos are beautiful and it is hard to believe she’s only been using her camera for such a short time. I had not heard of her before this post. Thanks for sharing this Inese!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Elena is an architect and she is an artist. Sure it helped when she started photography – it is her ‘secret ingredient’ 🙂

  4. I LOVE those photos. She captures light in a dreamlike way that give all her scenes a certain ethereal glow. How lucky you were to meet her! I love the advice to look for beauty in the ordinary day – a lesson for life as well. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Pat! I had no idea I posted it! It was supposed to get posted Friday, but I probably had pressed the wrong button 🙂 Surprised myself this morning 🙂

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