| OLIVIA BEE |
Olivia Bee, a 19-year-old, self- taught photographer, writes on her website that she, “strives to
capture the ordinary, in an extraordinary
way. Life is beautiful, perfect, and cinemat-
ic, if you look at the right moments,” she
says. It’s not always an accurate summary
of life in general, but it is those specific mo-
ments that make it worth living anyway.”
Bee, a pseudonym for the first initial of
her birth name, Bolles, was influenced at
a young age, she says by the “sunny orange
film photos” of her mother’s travels though
the Middle East as a young woman. “All my
photos are a constant stream of [images]
coming out of my brain,” Bee explains.
Perhaps it’s this thirst for life experience that Converse’s brand design director,
Brandon Avery, saw in Bee’s Flickr images
of her peers when he hired her to shoot a
national ad campaign for the company. She
was only 15 at the time, and this was only
the beginning of her double-life—as high-school student and full-time photographer.
graphs of herself and her nude boyfriend
in a bathtub. It makes sense that she draws
inspiration from photographers like Nan
Goldin and David LaChapelle, and that she
was thrilled to have “accidentally” met—in
an airport—cult-photographer, Ryan Mc-Ginley, whose fine art and editorial work
has been favorite of hers for a long time.
Bee is a photographer who, even after
spending six months in New York City
after moving from her native Portland,
Oregon (where she says her environment of
evergreen trees, mountains and ocean in-
fluenced her work), has not become jaded
by the concrete jungle—she’s still brim-
ming with enthusiasm as she describes
navigating the New York fashion industry.
She’s working through new ways to relate
to models and communicate with clients:
“I’m realizing there are all these rules, and
I realize I want to break them all,” she says
in a typical Millenial-punk style. “I’ve just
learned to break the rules, and be myself.
Keeping grounded will make sure that your
voice always shines through (and that you
remain okay mentally, too).”
It doesn’t hurt that her time in New York
has made it easier for her to fly back and
forth to European locales in Spain and
France for various assignments. “I think
[living in New York] makes me more cen-
tral. It makes people take me more seriously
(especially as a 19-year-old),” she says.
Since December, Bee has been working on a major rebranding campaign for a
French perfume company that she cannot
yet reveal. She has also been experimenting
with video. But she says, “the only thing I
always have going on is my personal diary
stuff,” which she shoots in film and publish-es at oliviab33.blogspot.com. At the time of
Above: An image from the Hermès Paris
campaign Olivia Bee conceptualized and shot.
Left: An image from Bee’s personal diary.