Elmira Watts was born in the closed city of Kuybyshev (now Samara), in the Volga Federal District of the then Soviet Union, in 1968. Her parents worked for Kuybushev Nefte Geophisica (a Samara oil and gas industry company). They collected a large and diverse library of books at home, and Elmira developed a taste for reading. She read about art and museums, as well as devouring books of visual effects and enjoying literary science fiction. She enjoyed a full family life with her parents and siblings, and was a notable junior speed skater during her high school years.
Elmira Watts did her vocational education at what’s now Samara State Economic University in Russia. Later in life, as a mature student in the UK, she did a full-time academic BA (Hons) in Photography at Bournemouth University’s Wiltshire College, Salisbury. She joined the Royal Photographic Society, and signed up as a licentiate of two trade associations: the British Institute of Professional Photography, and the Master Photographers' Association. She submitted her best two photographs to the BIPP/MPA annual competition. It won the overall photograph of the year, and the portrait category. She has kept up her membership of these organizations ever since, and continues to enter competitions. She continues to promote her award, and herself as a photographer, in the media and through exhibitions.
Won BIPP/MPA BPPA UK Photographer of the Year 2004
The same picture also won BIPP/MPA BPPA UK Portrait Photographer of the Year 2004
- Graduation Exhibition at Brick Lane, London 2006
Rented a studio in London, UK for twelve months in 2008/09
Won the BIPP South West regional portrait competition in 2009
The broadcaster TRC “Terra” and the energy company VolgoPromGas sponsored an exhibition in her home city of Samara, Russia in 09, in recognition of her UK photography “Oscar” (BIPP/MPA award)
Interviewed for an arts program on Russian television in 2009 about the exhibition
Held her own exhibition of photography in Penza, Penza Oblast, in the Volga Federal District of Russia, in 2009
- Exhibition at Brick Lane, London as a part of Alumni College Exhibition 2015
- Self Commissioned Commercial Photographer of The Year, South West Regional Image Competition 2021, BIPP
- IPA 2021 Honorable Mention — Fine Art Portrait