Sassen was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, and lives there. She studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Ateliers Arnhem.
The artist’s first retrospective in France currently takes place at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie - MEP. Hot Mirror, a survey exhibition of Sassen’s photography has shown at the Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire (2018) and Musée Des Beaux-Arts, Le Locle (2019).
An overview of 17 years of Sassen's fashion work, In and Out of Fashion, opened at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, in 2012, and travelled to the Rencontres d'Arles festival, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt and Fotomuseum Winterthur. Other solo exhibitions have taken place at Ruurlo Castle and Dat Bolwerck, both in the Netherlands (2023); Museum of Modern Art Zagreb (2022); Foto Forum Bolzano (2022); Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (2020); Fotografiska, Stockholm (2017); Foto Kunst Stadform, Austria (2017); the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg (2017); the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017); Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (2016); Atelier Néerlandais, Paris (2015); The Photographers’ Gallery, London; ICA, London (2015); and Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014).
Sassen was awarded the Dutch art prize the Prix de Rome, in 2007, and in 2011 won the International Center of Photography in New York's Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. In 2015, she was awarded the David Octavius Hill Medal from the German Photography Academy and was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her exhibition Umbra. She has also received numerous awards for her publications.