Interview with Yuliy Vasilev
BIFA 2022 Winner, 1st Place, Non-Professional Advertising category, “Spaghetti Stylist”
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you come to fall in love with photography?
I am a self-taught urban and culinary photographer, born in 1985 in Bulgaria. Since a young age, I have been very keen on traveling and discovering new places and cultures, which led me to study in the field of hospitality, where I am a holder of a Master’s degree in Business Management. On one of my trips to London at the beginning of 2012, I started to discover that photography was my real passion. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with urban and street photography. Art became my life and my love. I had the privilege to shoot in over 30 countries across three continents in the past 10 years. My passion and interest in food and culinary arts led me to experiment in the field of culinary photography, and I can say that at the moment I am one of the well-known names in the field of creative culinary photography. So far, I have won more than 300 awards, most notably:
Advertising New Talent of the Year – PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2022
Advertising Category Winner – Budapest International Foto Awards 2022
Creative Category Winner – Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2022
Food & Beverage Category Winner – Siena Creative Photo Awards 2022
Overall Winner – One Eyeland World’s Top 10 Street Photographers 2022
Q: Could you elaborate on how you took this award-winning picture? What was the main concept and what was your process for creating it?
I had an idea about something like this a couple of years ago. I even created one picture, but I didn’t like it that much back then, so it was never published. Instead, I decided to give myself some time to find another approach and create a better image. It took some time, but then the proper idea came to my mind, and I started to gather the appropriate props. The whole project was created in three shooting days over the span of two months at the beginning of 2022 in my home studio. I love natural light, and I always do food photography using only natural light. “Spaghetti Stylist” is the name of this project. Is it pasta? Or is it hair? Is it both? Or none? That is entirely up to you to decide.
Q: What does receiving this honor entail for you?
Winning the title of BIFA 1st Place in Advertising is a huge honor for me. The year 2022 was very successful for me as a photographer, with many important awards and goals achieved. It makes me very proud and is a huge boost for me to keep on creating.
Q: What other photographers’ work, practices, or styles have had an influence on your own?
I was never interested in copying other photographers’ styles. I always strived to develop my own style and vision. For me, being different is the best possible way to be someone in photography nowadays, as everyone has a camera and billions of photos are created every day.
Q: Photography is a great medium for communicating various messages to people. What are your thoughts on this tool and how do you use it?
Indeed, photography is a great way to communicate with an audience. Sometimes I use photography to show my opinion on various problems that we face in our lives. Such a project was “THE (p)LAST(ic) SUPPER” where I created ten different food compositions and dishes using plastic waste. Plastic pollution is one of the major problems of our time, and we must face it and deal with it.
Q: What difficulties do you think photographers face today?
I don’t really know. My main difficulty is time, as my main job as manager of a very large team of employees is often very time-consuming.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
Inspiration is something that I can easily say is never absent. Many things in our environment inspire my street and food photography. Especially in culinary photography, the most important thing is to develop the idea properly, find the proper inventory, and make the best possible picture that best corresponds to the main idea. This takes time, sometimes a year or more, but the final result is the most important.
Q: What would the setting be for your ideal photo shoot? Do you have any tools or accessories that you must include?
Every single photo or project requires an individual approach. In food photography, the props are extremely important, so I often spend weeks or months in search of the proper items. Sometimes I even create them myself.
Q: What are your future plans? Are you presently engaged in any intriguing projects that you can share with us?
I managed to complete another project in 2022, which took me 3 years, “Foodtopia,” a utopian land where food is just out of this world. It proved to be a very successful project as well; in fact, it was voted as the Advertising category winner at PX3 2022. Now I am working on a brand new project called “Cabinet of Curiosities,” where food is as weird as never before.
View Yuliy Vasilev’s Winning Work Here.