Yuliy Vasilev
Yuliy Vasilev

Yuliy Vasilev

PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2022 – Non-Professional
First Place Winner in Advertising – Foodtopia

Self-taught urban and food photographer Yuliy Vasilev was born in Bulgaria in 1985. He has always had a passion for exploring the world and learning about various people and cultures, which inspired him to pursue a career in hospitality. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Management. Early in 2012, while visiting London, he began to realize that his true interest was photography. He has been enamored with urban and street photography ever since. He started to live and enjoy art. In the last ten years, Vasilev has had the opportunity to film in more than 30 nations on three continents.

He began experimenting in the field of culinary photography because of his love and interest for food and the culinary arts, and today he can state that he is one of the well-known figures in the field of imaginative culinary photography. He has so far garnered more than 300 accolades, including the following:

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

“For me, photography is art, so no matter how skilled you are or how much knowledge you have obtained about cameras, equipment, settings, lighting, etc., if you don’t have it in yourself, you cannot be taught to become an artist,” Vasilev says. “For me, the most important skill that can be learned is how to properly compose a shot. Good editing skills also help to achieve a good final result. And also, one more thing, which is very neglected by most, is self-criticism. Most photographers just overflow the web with weak images, which, in my opinion, is a huge mistake. To be able to choose and show only the best is a skill,” he says, explaining what he sees as the most important talent for a photographer to possess. 

Vasilev began work on the winning project in 2019. It wasn’t initially planned to be a series. Using broccoli for the trees, he came up with the concept to reproduce a drone-style photograph of a lone automobile on a road in the middle of a dense forest. This is how the project’s opening image, “The Broccoli Forest,” was made. “Afterwards, I continued to seek inspiration from various themes, and the images were created one by one. I also developed the story behind the project, and the name “Foodtopia” was born,” he says. 

“”Foodtopia” is a utopian land where all food items are gigantic and tasty and where it’s absolutely normal to cruise through a forest made of broccoli. The daily routine of a firefighter includes putting down blazing chilies, and the regular winter is full of cookies and heavy powdered sugar snowfalls. To step on a tomato in Foodtopia is considered a crime, and corn is mined in quarries. In the capital of Foodtopia, the city of Gratertropolis, people work in their tiny offices in skyscrapers made of cheese graters, and on the weekends, they chill by the donuts racetrack made of candies. The sky is made out of candy floss, and the moon is made of Swiss cheese.”

20 photos make up the project “Foodtopia”, which Vasilev worked on for three years. The project as a whole, as well as individual photographs from the series, received many accolades from all over the world and was even featured in a full article in Forbes.

Vasilev appreciates how much it means to him to be named PX3 Advertising Photographer of the Year. He had a very successful year in 2022 as a photographer, winning numerous significant accolades and accomplishing many key objectives. He is quite proud of it, and it gives him a lot of motivation to continue working.

Inspiration is something Vasilev can simply claim never leaves him. “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.”

Vasiler advises against replicating the aesthetic of other photographers when giving advice to a beginner photographer. “…try to find your own and develop it. Do what makes you happy the most. Be creative. Don’t do all types of photography; specialize in one or two. Be extremely self-critical,” he shares with us.

At the start of 2022, Vasilev succeeded in finishing another project called “Spaghetti Stylist,” in which he pretends that spaghetti is hair. It turned out to be a highly successful project, and at BIFA 2022, it was chosen as the winner of the Advertising category. He is currently working on a completely new project called “Cabinet of Curiosities,” where the food is as bizarre as ever.