“Lighting Can Change Everything” – Photographer Vadym Yatsun Discusses Elevating Imagery With Experimental Lighting

How accidentally moving to London and a chance encounter with the Trevor Sorbie team accelerated his career. 

 
Vadym Yatsun
Vadym Yatsun
I became a photographer by accident; I started my career as a musician. I needed photos for my work but struggled to get a good photographer, so I started doing photography, and then it just took off for me. That was more than 10 years ago now! In Ukraine we didn’t have any photography schools, so I was trying to find information on the internet, and I had to just analyse all the shoots I saw; how the lighting could work, where the lights were placed, how they could be directed – and that’s how I developed a good relationship with lighting.  

I’m always prepped, but slight differences on set might change everything quite significantly. This is what I love about the creative process – it starts by working on the presentation, with the mood board, storyboard, all the looks, hairstyles, makeup and so on. Everything is carefully planned and I’m happy with how it changes on a set. The model will bring their own energy, and everything may change, but this is the magic that fascinates me. 

 

 
Vadym Datsun
Vadym Yatsun
“I became a photographer by accident; I started my career as a musician. I needed photos for my work but struggled to get a good photographer, so I started doing photography, and then it just took off for me. That was more than 10 years ago now! In Ukraine we didn’t have any photography schools, so I was trying to find information on the internet, and I had to just analyse all the shoots I saw; how the lighting could work, where the lights were placed, how they could be directed – and that’s how I developed a good relationship with lighting.  

I’m always prepped, but slight differences on set might change everything quite significantly. This is what I love about the creative process – it starts by working on the presentation, with the mood board, storyboard, all the looks, hairstyles, makeup and so on. Everything is carefully planned and I’m happy with how it changes on a set. The model will bring their own energy, and everything may change, but this is the magic that fascinates me. 

 

Vadym Yatsun

Image one, Image two

I like complex stuff. The more complicated it is, the more interesting it becomes. I think lighting is one of the most complicated parts of photography. I’m a control freak and shooting with daylight is something that you cannot control. It just drives me nuts, which is why lighting is a good thing! 

“I like challenges, I find this work challenging and that’s what brings something special to my life.”

Since working in the hair industry, there have been lots of learning experiences. I believe that all photographers and people on set should know almost everything about their colleagues and the specifics of their work. As soon as I got into the industry, I started communicating with my colleagues, hairstylists, and makeup artists. I learned everything about their processeswhich hairstyle should be the first, what would be the next, all and all the processes working with wigs. Now I love wigs most of all, because they make everything flexible 

Vadym Yatsun

Image three, Image four

Getting into the UK hairdressing scene was an interesting development, as I had worked with lots of hair brands and hair magazines in Ukraine. I love hair because it creates shapes – it can save simple looks or fashion shoots! I moved to London two years ago by accident. I wasn’t supposed to move here, but I started looking for different people to collaborate with, to get a job, and any connections, and then the Trevor Sorbie team found me. I followed someone from the team, and then they followed me, which led to being invited to shoot their new collection. And thats how things started in London! 

Vadym Yatsun

Image five, Image six

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My first career highlight was this cover story for Schon! magazine with Indira Varma. She was in Game of Thrones and this was the first magazine shoot with a big budget, big sets and big brands. It was really lovely to have the trust of quite an important magazine. 
This shoot for Paper magazine was quite cool. The last couple of years changed my life completely, and they also changed my approach completely. 

My first career highlight was this cover story for Schon! magazine with Indira Varma. She was in Game of Thrones and this was the first magazine shoot with a big budget, big sets and big brands. It was really lovely to have the trust of quite an important magazine. 

This shoot for Paper magazine was quite cool. The last couple of years changed my life completely, and they also changed my approach completely. 
Vadym Yatsun

Image seven

This was another image for Schon! magazine, with hair by Paul Donovan. This was the second shoot and I love collaborating with this magazine because they trust me a lot. It’s something that rarely happens, but they just trust me 100 per cent so I can experiment. We were using layers of colour filters in front of the lens, changing and distorting the image; sometimes my work is not about lighting, its about the effect that we can give, about the layers and layers that can be placed in front of the lens. This sometimes brings unexpected results, which is also cool, and it is also part of the challenge because you never know what will happen. Its a shoot I love, because that was the first experiment with this layering of colour filters and it was then I decided it will be part of my work and have my personal, distinctive, recognisable style. 

Image eight

This was an amazing collaboration with one of my favourite makeup artists, Sophia Sinot, she’s worked with a lot of big talents and so that was a collaboration for Elle Ukraine, with hair by Trevor Sorbie’s Tizi Dima. I love this shoot because there was a lot of playing and experimenting with flowers and working with lots of effects, such as reflecting from different surfaces. We had this amazing piece of silver film that was giving a water-like effect with the light reflecting off.
Vadym Yatsun

Image nine

This image, with Ross Kwan on hair, we had lots of stuff that the set designer brought, and then he found this piece of rubbish downstairs and it reminded me of the shape of an eye, so he wrapped it in a piece of cloth, and that how it became the shape you see in the background. We placed it behind the model, and it worked perfectly with all the lighting, and changing the gradients, and it was cool. 

Lighting is something that always goes with me, it’s something that can change every set – you don’t need anything sophisticated, just the white cove, and lots and lots of lights.


Credits

Image one
Hairstylist: Tizi Dima
Stylist: Yana Chaplygina
Stylist assistant: Naa-Okailey
Make-up: Julia Leshanich
Model: Liam Elias

Image two
Hair: Tizi Dima
Stylist: Ignacio de Tiedra

Make-up: Sofia Sinot 
Make-up assistant: Carolynska

Nails: Giulia Oldani
Set design: Sam Edyn
Set designer assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi
Model: Galina Arkhi
Photography assistant: Nicola Sclano

Image three
Hair: Ross Kwan
Stylist:
Ignacio de Tiedra
Make-up: Mona Leanne
Set designer: Sam Edyn
Set designer assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi

Nails: Guilia Oldani
Model: Cecília Gama
Photography assistant: Nicola Sclano 

Image four
Hair: Tizi Dima
Stylist: Yana Chaplygina
Stylist assistant:Naa-Okailey

Make-up: Julia Leshanich

 

Image five
Hair: Paul Donovan
Hair assistant: Jessica Kell
Stylist and art direction: Ignacio de Tiedra
Stylist assistant: Enol Garçon
Art direction: Margo Mayor
Make-up: Justine Jenkins
Set designer: Sam Edyn
Set designer assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi
Model: Indira Varma
Nails: Mica Hendricks
Photography assistant: Simeon Asenov, Leo Corfu

Image six
Hair: Danilo Giangreco
Photography assistants: Iryl Mugas, Nicola Sclano
Stylist: Adele Cany
Stylist assistant: Cordie Watson
Make-up: India Rawlings
Model: Rahi Chadda
Set design: Sam Edyn
Set design assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi

Image seven
Hair: Ross Kwan
Stylist and art direction: Ignacio de Tiedra
Stylist assistant: Khem Sharu
Art direction: Margo Mayor
Make-up: Nency
Nails: Mica Hendricks
Gaffer: Zadek T
P
hotography assistant: Joseff Williams
Model: Jiayan Yao

Image eight
Hair: Tizi Dima
Stylist: Ignacio de Tiedra
Make-up: Sophia Sinot
Make-up assistant: Carolynska

N
ails: Guilia Oldani
S
et design: Sam Edyn
Model: Tanatswa
S
et designer assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi
Photography assistant: Nicola Sclano

Image nine
Hair: Ross Kwan
Stylist:
Ignacio de Tiedra
Make-up: Mona Leanne
Set designer: Sam Edyn
Set designer assistant: Jeremy Rwakasiisi

Nails: Guilia Oldani
Model: Reny
Photography assistant: Nicola Sclano 

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