Sergei Vasiliev was born in 1936 in the Chuvash region of Russia.
He was a staff photographer for the newspaper Vecherny Chelyabinsk for over thirty years. He has received many honours including International Master of Press Photography from the International Organization of Photo Journalists (Prague, 1985), Honoured Worker of Arts of Russia, and the Golden Eye Prize. His work has been exhibited internationally and is held in numerous museum collections. He is author of more than twenty books, including Russian Beauty (1996) and Zonen (1994).
His work has been exhibited internationally as part of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Exhibition. Thirteen large format Russian Criminal Tattoo prints were shown at the Saatchi Gallery in the exhibition Gaiety Is The Most Outstanding Feature Of The Soviet Union, 21 Nov 2012 – 9 June 2013.
8–24 September 2017 Photo Oxford - Russian Criminal Tattoos: A Lexicon of Crime
17 October–22 November 2014 Grimaldi Gavin - Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Files
21 Nov 2012–9 June 2013 Saatchi Gallery - Gaiety Is The Most Outstanding Feature Of The Soviet Union
27 April–16 June 2012 Galerie Max Hetzer - Russian Criminal Tattoos
16 July–2 October 2011 Nottingham Contemporary - The Small Collections Room
30 October–28 November 2010 London - Russian Criminal Tattoo Exhibition