This week, New York magazine (my subway bible), profiled 18-year-old photography ingenue, Olivia Bee. Those who follow the photographer may remember her brilliantly-documented images for a New York Times feature about sex ed in 2011, but this is the first article I’ve read about her photography and personal background. Despite her youth, Bee’s approach to shooting contains a few facts worth noting:
1. She ignores the Rule of Thirds.
Bee usually places subjects smack dab in the center of the frame, and the style works for the raw, dreamy looks she’s trying to convey.
2. College is not for her—right now.
Bee has decided against a formal photography education, and instead decided, “I didn’t want to go to photo school, because I didn’t want to change the way I saw my work.”
3. She has a signature color.
The article describes Bee’s “pinkish” hair and lipstick, pink sweater and in the restaurant where the interview took place, her desire to “…make all the lights pink.” (Sweet.)
4. Her influences were acquired online.
Bee’s self-taught photo education was completely Web-based. “On the Internet, she would research Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, and early Terry Richardson,” the article states.
5. Her friends are her muses.
Bee’s first photos of her teenage friends (doing what kids do in their most honest states) are what drew the attention of companies like Converse, Levi’s, Hermès and TeenNick—all of which hired her for their campaigns.
At what age did you start shooting? What would have been your subjects at 18-years-old?