Born in Bulgaria and moving to Berlin at 18 to pursue an education as an art historian, Vassi Lena found her true love for photography working as a photo editor for Conde Nast and Vanity Fair Germany.
Transitioning from directing and organising photo shoots to capturing images herself, Vassi moved to Australia where over the course of 10 years she has worked for international and local companies and brands in the likes of Sony Music Australia, Rolex, Mazda and Netflix to name a few.
Shooting editorials, advertising campaigns and exclusive events over the course of her career, Vassi’s passion and artistry lies in creating imagery in an intentional, artful, and cinematic way.
"Our industry got extremely saturated and it's getting harder to stay current, while maintaining your style. I find it sad that an image or a shoot that you have worked on for weeks lives and dies within a scroll of a thumb."
Name: Vassi Lena
Occupation: Lifestyle Photographer
Hometown: Haskovo, Bulgaria
Current Location: Bondi Beach
What do you do?
I am a lifestyle photographer and a mom. Not in that particular order ;)
Did you study anywhere or self taught?
A bit of both actually. My dad was a photographer when he was in the army back in the 70s but I didn't show any interest until my late twenties. I did darkroom and film with him and once I moved to Australia I started assisting other photographers.
What’s your favourite camera and/or equipment to work with?
Professionally I use Canon R5 and Profoto gear but I would like to get something smaller (I lean to Fuji) to carry around at all times.
Who are your favourite photographers?
David Burnett, who I met and had the honour to photograph when he was exhibiting in Australia, is one of my icons. And Murray Fredericks, whose photographs give me goosebumps and make me want to cry.
Who or what else inspires you?
Music videos and movies from the 80-90's.
How have you evolved over the years?
My style was overly polished when I first started and I think a lot of young photographers try too hard at the beginning until they find their style. I have moved to more natural and emotive imagery and I also prefer to shoot outside of a studio.
Do you find any challenges in your industry? Hmmm...where do I start ;) Our industry got extremely saturated and it's getting harder to stay current, while maintaining your style. I find it sad that an image or a shoot that you have worked on for weeks lives and dies within a scroll of a thumb.
What tools or apps help you get your work done?
PS (Photoshop) and Lr (Lightroom) for all my professional shoots but I love Tezza as it gives me that instant satisfaction.
Are you reading or watching anything right now?
I've just started reading (music producer) Rick Rubin's 'The Creative Act' and I am watching all the Nordic Noir shows on SBS
What are you listening to atm?
A bit of everything - Black Pumas, Kaytranada, Portishead, Jose James.
What websites do you frequent?
Hi Frustose | Behance | Design Milk
Where are you travelling to next?
What is your greatest achievement?
Staying sane and true to myself in a world full of demands, and making a living from what I love. And add to that becoming a mom (ok, this is where all my sanity went)
One thing you would like to achieve this year? Learn patience
What advice would you share to others wanting to get into your profession?
Don't surround yourself only with likeminded people - yeah, I know it sounds counterintuitive but if you do, you run the risk of creating an echo chamber and never evolve as an artist.