Elaine Constantine (born 1965 in Bury, Lancashire), is a photographer and filmmaker known for her colourful and upbeat imagery of British youth culture. The British designer, businesswoman and author, Jan Constantine, is her sister.
Constantine came to prominence due to work published in The Face, where newly installed art director, Lee Swillingham commissioned her first fashion editorial. Constantine's youthful and energetic style suited his vision to introduce a new generation of younger photographers to readers. According to Constantine, her work, "came at a point when people had seen grunge fashion for a few years and needed something else to look at." Constantine has also contributed to Vanity Fair and American, French and Italian Vogue. Her commercial clients have included; Adidas, American Eagle, Burberry, Clarins, Diesel, Evian, Gap, H&M, Lacoste, Levi's, Nike, Shiseido, Sportmax, and Vivienne Westwood.[according to whom?]
In late Summer 2012 Elaine returned to the North to direct Northern Soul, the project she had always dreamt about.
The film tells the tale of two Northern boys whose worlds are changed forever when they discover black American soul music. Rejecting their small town existence working the production line, they dream of going to America in search of the super-rare records that will help them to become the best DJ's on the Northern Soul scene.
Born in Bury, Lancashire, the youngest of a large Catholic family, Elaine grew up listening and dancing to Northern Soul. From hearing her elder siblings’ record collections to her first youth club experience, Northern Soul was the soundtrack to her adolescence.
It is her obsession with youth culture and a lifelong passion for 1960s American, independent soul music that inspired Constantine to make her first full length feature film. Some ten years in the making, it aims to be an authentic portrayal of a quintessential northern soul experience.
Elaine's first solo show was at Marion de Beaupre's Gallerie 213, Paris in 1998. In 2002 Constantine exhibited ‘Tea Dance’, a show that documented the tea dance culture of Northern England.
Her work has been exhibited at London's Photographers Gallery, Tate Britain's 'Look at Me' Exhibition, curated by Val Williams, The V&A's 'Imperfect Beauty' Exhibition, curated by Charlotte Cotton. A series of Constantine's prints are held in the photography collection at the National Portrait Gallery.
Most recent solo exhibition, 'Tea Dance', has toured Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam and Moscow.
In 1998 Constantine was awarded the John Kobal Foundation's Award. In 2002 Constantine was awarded the Creative Review's Award for Best Up and Coming Promo Director. In 2005 Constantine was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Terence Donovan Achievement Award.
- Benedictus, Leo (24 May 2007). "Elaine Constantine's best shot". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.