Yuliy Vasilev

2023 Non-Professional Adverising Photographer of the Year

Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue 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 35 countries across three continents in the past 11 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 350 awards, most notably:

  • Advertising New Talent of the Year – PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2022
  • Advertising Non Pro 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
  • Non Pro Photographer of the Year – One Eyeland Photography Awards 2022
  • Winner – 14th Annual the Taste Awards 2023

Q: What drove you to submit your work to the IPA competition and your thoughts on how winning this competition impacted your artistic journey?
IPA is among the biggest and most prestigious photography competitions out there, and I always dreamed of winning a top spot in it. It really shows you where your photography stands at the moment. Winning the title of Advertising Photographer of the Year is an enormous honour for me, and it also helped me fulfil another dream of mine: to finally visit the city of New York and be able to make pictures there. The past couple of years were 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: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)?
I had an idea about something like this some 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 better images. 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, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images?
A great image requires dedication, love, research, and understanding of the subject photographed. The images that stand out are the ones that are different, one-of-a-kind ideas or moments. Photographers nowadays tend to copy too much from each other, go to popular destinations, and make the same pictures as hundreds of others before them without even looking for a fresh perspective, which in my opinion is terrible.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?
I don’t recall such thing.

Q: What motivates and drives your photography?
I don’t really know how to explain; it is pure love and passion. As an artist, it is just a way of living for me. I am itching to create images, and I love the process behind it.

Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?
Hopefully, there will be many more travels, many more exciting images, fresh and unique ideas, and perhaps a second solo exhibition in the near future.