the interview, she had 20 rolls of film to develop but won’t reveal the type of film she
uses other than to say it’s 35mm, because
“it’s part of my personal esthetic,” she says.
Whether shooting editorial and fashion
(mostly digitally with her Canon 5D Mark
III) or for her personal diary (on film—with
her personal favorite cameras, the Yashica
T4 and Olympus OM- 1), her ethereal esthetic and unique color palette provide a
wistful appeal that remains consistent.
How does she keep this drive alive? It’s
all about pure passion for the camera. “You
can’t focus on success (in terms of money
or what magazines you’re in). It has to be
about loving to do it because that’s the only
thing that can never be taken away from
you,” she says. It was her time working in
the darkroom in middle and high school,
Bee says, that made her realize she wanted
to be a photographer at such a young age.
“Photography was the one thing that really
stuck. It was something that I wanted to do
everyday and it slowly became part of me.”
She also accepts her work for what it is,
reminding herself that “not everything has
to be a masterpiece.” She goes on to explain,
“Sometimes you can just take a picture
because it feels fun and good to take a
picture, or you want to hear the sound of
a shutter or you want to catch a moment
even though you don’t think it’s going to be
your next big thing. Why should you take
that away from yourself? You can learn
every time and you can learn from your
mistakes.” And right now, that learning is
coming from constantly feeding herself
with imagery from various sources.
Bee promotes the idea that there are sev-
eral different paths to success, in addition
to the high-school-to-college-to-assisting
trajectory. “There doesn’t have to be such
a linear mindset,” she explains of the idea
that much of today’s youth are pushed to go
to college straight from high school. “You
should learn because you want to learn,
because you are interested in something.
You can’t expand your mind if you aren’t
enjoying what you’re doing.”
It’s this ability to charismatically articulate
her path that has led to speaking engage-
ments at TEDxAmsterdam Women in 2012
(which she says was an honor because it was
the first time she was recognized as a woman
Above and below: From Bee’s ongoing personal
diary of everyday moments shot on film and
published on her blog, oliviab33.blogspot.com.
and not a teen for her accomplishments).
Later this year she will be giving three more
talks—at the PDN PhotoPlus International
Conference+ Expo in New York (she was
named one of this year’s PDN’s 30), TEDx
Athens and the Olympus InVision Photo
Festival—all within the span of one month.
Although Bee’s success can be attributed
to her start on Flickr (and her diligence on
social media accounts and blogging), she
shies away from describing her practice as
a networking strategy. “I think about it as
meeting people.” She says to call it “
marketing” makes it seem like a chore.
While Bee continues to shoot herself and
her friends as models, it’s this intimate take
on youth that continues to draw in clients: “It
was me living in my environment and pho-
tographing it, rather than someone going in
and photographing something they weren’t
a part of. I have the first-hand experience,
the inside scoop,” she explains. “I shoot what
I feel. Whatever happens, happens. I think I
have a fresh perspective that people haven’t
seen. I think my work relates to everyone.
The subject matter and feelings that come
about are very universal…and at the same
time, modern (and traditional). I draw inspi-
ration from a lot of different eras, including
And her advice to photographers emerg-
ing on the scene or trying to redefine their
style? “Do what you love and do it till your
whole body hurts. As long as that isn’t kill-
ing people (or something equally horrible),
you’ll do great.”
To see more of Bee’s work, visit: www.