Like many of generation Y, she too has captured her life through photographs and online posts. A big difference with her peers is that Olivia Bee does it quite well. The twenty year old now photographs and directs campaigns for Hermès and Cacharel.
Olivia Bee was born in 1994 as Olivia Bolles in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Yes, for those who remember, this was the year when the Lion King came out and Friends started their first season, she is thát young. She was surrounded by a creative family who gave her the freedom to follow her passion. As an eleven-year-old she follows a photography course in school, as a fourteen-year-old she is asked by Converse to shoot their ad campaign. Things can happen fast.
After taking the photography course, she got out her mother’s old Pentax camera from the attic, photographs the world around her and puts her pictures on her blog, Tumblr and Flickr. Here she shares parties, boredom, first kisses and the zest for life of her generation. The pictures are her diary and give a recognizable image of the everyday teenage life.
Her blog consists mainly of pictures, she doesn’t write many texts. The only thing she wrote about her rejection of the college of her choice was “Lifelong summer”, which is quite badass if you ask me.
One tough cookie
With her blond curls and her round, childlike face, it seems like she has jumped straight out of a Lewis Carroll story, but looks are deceptive, because Oliva Bee is one tough cookie. She works hard at her photography knowledge and eventually develops a recognizable style.
Floating on a lake looking at the stars, waking up in the rose garden or encountering a deer on a beautiful spring day. In the Portland neighbourhood, nature is apparently never far away, what results in beautiful, dreamy images which define her style.
Even after her international success she still holds on to her blog, where she posts almost all of her pictures. Why, you ask? “In a museum, how many people actually look at my pictures? Fifty, a hundred, a thousand? On the Internet, there are millions, maybe more.”
Older photographers try very hard to stage youth in their pictures. Olivia Bee is able to capture youthfulness in its purest form, because she is right in the middle of it. She tries to capture the everyday life in an exceptional way. ” Life is beautiful, perfect, and cinematic, if you look at the right moments. It’s not always an accurate summary of life in general, but it is those specific moments that make it worth living anyway.”
Her pictures and videos always have a touch of nostalgia and heaviness. She often uses her friends as models, making her pictures sometimes look like a documentary. It is therefore in every respect the opposite of established photographers and Russian supermodels. Her images are dreamy, smooth and have an ocher-colored or pink tinge. The people in her pictures often have an innocent and seductive look at the same time. Despite what her photography teachers have taught her about composition, she places the subject almost always in the middle of the image.
Meanwhile, armed with a new camera, she storms the international fashion scene. After being discovered by Converse, she hasn’t sat still for a day and flies around the world. She has created beautiful shoots and videos for L’Oréal, Vogue, Nike, Levi’s and Adidas. Especially for fashion designer Roger Vivier she made beautiful images. She also made editorials for the New York Times, Seventeen Magazine, Le Figaro, Der Spiegel, Zeit Magazin and has a recurring column in the French newspaper Le Monde.
Images from oliviabee.com