Yelena Yemchuk

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Yelena Yemchuk
Born (1970-04-22) April 22, 1970 (age 52)
EducationParsons School of Design ArtCenter College of Design
OccupationPhotographer, painter, film director
Partner(s)Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Yelena Yemchuk (Ukrainian: Єлена Ємчук, born April 22, 1970) is a Ukrainian professional photographer, painter and film director, best known for her work with The Smashing Pumpkins.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Kyiv, Ukraine to an athlete and a teacher, her family moved to Brooklyn, New York when Yelena was in her early teens.[2] Before emigrating to the United States, Yemchuk would spend her summers in a recreational area in Kyiv along the Dnieper River called Gidropark, which would later become the inspiration for her 2011 book by the same name.[2] Yemchuk describes the area as a "Soviet version of Coney Island" during the summer when woods and waterfronts of the area are turned into a playground.[3]

She studied at Parson School of Design in New York City and at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA.[3][1]

Her interest in photography was sparked when her dad gave her a camera for her fourteenth birthday.[4]


Yemchuk directed or co-directed the videos for "Zero" and "Thirty-Three" by the Smashing Pumpkins. In addition, she handled art direction for the album Adore by the Smashing Pumpkins and its related singles. Her photographs appear in the "Zero" EP, The Aeroplane Flies High box set, and the Rotten Apples compilation. She received an art direction credit for the 2000 Smashing Pumpkins album Machina/The Machines of God, and appeared in the video for the song "Stand Inside Your Love". She also provided the photography for albums by Savage Garden and Rufus Wainwright. Her fashion photography is featured in the September 2010 Urban Outfitters catalog.

She has exhibited her paintings at the Dactyl Foundation.[5][6][7] Her paintings "displays her uniquely surrealist approach to art with satiric storytelling and undeniable Eastern European influences".[8]

Her current focus on fashion photography began in 1997. Since then, Yemchuk has contributed to Italian and Japanese Vogue, The New Yorker and W, and has shot advertising campaigns for Kenzo, Cacharel and Dries Van Noten.[9]

She was involved with Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan from 1995 to about 2003.[1] Throughout 2004, Corgan mentioned her frequently in his blog, and she also provided the cover art for his book Blinking with Fists.

In 2011, Yelena published her first book, Gidropark.[2][10] This book allows audiences to see a more personal side of Yemchuk, given that most of her body of work revolves around portraiture and fashion photography.[3] The photos published within the book were taken during the summers of 2005 through 2008.[11] More recently, in 2021 she worked on the film Mabel, Betty and Bette, which explores "female archetypes of the Golden Age of Hollywood."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Yemchuck has two daughters with American actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach,[10] who is best known for his role in the HBO television series Girls. Yemchuk and Moss-Bachrach currently reside in Brooklyn, NY.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "yelena yemchuk is a Brooklyn based photographer, born in Kiev". Anatomy Films Analog Photography. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "About Yelena Yemchuk - Yelena Yemchuk". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Lokke, Maria (10 June 2011). "A Soviet Coney Island: Yelena Yemchuk's "Gidropark"". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ "About Yelena Yemchuk - Yelena Yemchuk". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  5. ^ Alexander, Victoria N. (2002), Yelena Yemchuk, Dactyl Foundation
  6. ^ Alexander, Victoria N. (2004), Yelena Yemchuk, Dream Readers, Dactyl Foundation
  7. ^ Alexander, Victoria N. (2008), Yelena Yemchuk, Notes on Fantômas, Dactyl Foundation
  8. ^ Eibl, Maria-Theresia (2 June 2008), "Beyond Surrealism: The Mystical World of Artist Yelena Yemchuk", PsychoPEDIA, archived from the original on 14 April 2014
  9. ^ Coleman, Sarah (July 2006), "The Romance of Yelena Yemchuk" (PDF), Photo District News, 26 (7): 34–38, archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2017
  10. ^ a b "Yelena Yemchuk: Gidropark Signing at Clic Gallery, March 2, 2011". Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Yelena Yemchuk | Biography | Gitterman Gallery Web Site". Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Juxtapoz Magazine - Yelena Yemchuk Explores The Often Elusive Nature of Identity". Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  13. ^ Ryzik, Melena (4 January 2015). "Talking With Ebon Moss-Bachrach of 'Girls'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 May 2018.

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