Last Updated on 02/07/2024 by Chris Gampat
“If a concept is easy to execute, it has probably been done before by somebody else,” says photographer Yuliy Vasilev to the Phoblographer in an interview. “So I am not afraid of something that at first seems impossible. I love the challenges that my brain puts me through.” Yuliy admits that it’s a lot of work, but that he always makes the final results very worth it. Luckily, he finds inspiration in nearly anything and everything.
Yuliy recounts when he was creating his photograph of Central Park, he needed a lot of cheese graters — like around 50. “I was not keen on spending that much money, so at the end, I decided to buy 12 and make many photos, which I later blended in software,” he tells us. “I think there were 10 separate shots for that single image. A lot of people received graters as gifts for Christmas that year.”
How Yuliy Vasilev Got Into Photography
Yuliy got into photography at the age of 27. Until then, he took photos when being a tourist — and none of it had artistic value. “During a trip to London in the beginning of 2012, it was probably the first time that I discovered that making photos is something that I really enjoy doing,” he shares. “I was walking around the city with my point-and-shoot camera, and it was really fun. Later that year, I bought a mirrorless Sony Nex-C3 camera.” He started out shooting landscapes and stuff — food photography was a natural transition.
Because of his experience in the hospitality industry, he got more into food. He’s a former restaurant manager at a 5-star hotel. “I started to make commercial food photography; I was even working with some world-class chefs on a few photoshoots, but somehow it was not that interesting for me because I was only making pictures of dishes that were not made by me,” he expresses. “I wanted more, and I started to experiment with different food compositions by myself. At first, simple ideas, then more complex ones.” The result is the work that we have from him today.
He admits that he’s not a gear guy. After the NEX C3, he upgraded to a Sony a6300 and uses a tripod with either a Sony 18-135 or 55-210 lenses for food.
The Creative Inspiration
Yuliy gets his ideas from anything and everything. But once he’s got an idea solidified, he takes time to get the props together. “Sometimes I am creating props, like painting plates, cutlery, etc. And when I am absolutely sure of what and how I want to make it, then I do the shooting,” he shares. More important to him is the composition. To him, sometimes it requires moving a prop 1mm to get a beterr photo. Beyond all this, he cares about the light — and he always uses natural light. In his creative mind, it adds to the authenticity. In fact, he’ll even Google photos to make sure that nobody else has done it before.
Self-critique is a must for every artist. I have made photos that many other photographers will consider great, but in my opinion, they are not worthy, and I never even tried to even edit them. I am absolutely happy if I am able to make 10–15 excellent shots a year.Yuliy Vasilev
Thoughts on AI Imagery
Yuliy sees AI as a natural part of human evolution. “As an artist, I don’t dislike AI images, but I do dislike the people behind them, especially when they call themselves artists,” he shares. “With AI, it is very easy for somebody with zero creativity and absolutely no skills to make something out of nothing. But art is much more than that; it is not only the final result but also the whole process behind it.” He states that this is a similar moment to when photography was introduced and what it did to painters. Two centuries later, they’re totally different mediums.
“AI images should not be called photos, and definitely, there is a place under the sun for them, but in my opinion, AI imagery is something that will be forgotten as quickly as it entered our world as there is absolutely no added value in them.”
The Phoblographer works with human photographers to verify that they’ve actually created their work through shoots. These are done by providing us assets such as BTS captures, screenshots of post-production, extra photos from the shoot, etc. We do this to help our readers realize that this is authentically human work. Here’s what this photographer provided for us.