Olivia Bee

Photographer, director


Olivia Bee is a young photographer from Portland, Oregon who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother is a hairdresser and her father is a high-tech worker, they both have been interested in art their whole lives. She first started taking pictures when she accidentally signed up for a photography class in sixth grade. At first she wasn't a fan, but soon fell in love with the art.

Her Work

Olivia Bee's photos are unique, just like her personality. Her photographs stray from the typical guidelines most photographers live by (rule of thirds, filling the frame) and often times she places her subject directly in the center. Her seventies inspired pictures filtered with washes of colors are an innovative take on a classic art form.Her work has a dreamy, youthful, and nostalgic feel to it. She categorizes it as "real, obsessive emotions put in a pop context.”

"It lends itself to memory; it's magical. I want to evoke nostalgia in everyone, and to take photos you can relate to, regardless of your situation, your gender, race, where you grew up, whether you're a teenager…"

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds a technique most photographers use where you make sure the main focus points of your photo are not directly in the center. People use this because it is said to make an image more complex, add depth and give it balance. Olivia Bee rarely uses the rule of thirds because placing your subject directly in the middle makes it stand out in a crowd and makes it more jarring and to the point.
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Olivia Bee is an inspiration to many and has spoken at a TED talk in Athens entitled “Talent is an Illusion” where she encouraged young girls to pursue their passions, even if they don’t think they are good enough. A few years back, when Olivia was a freshman in high school, she was reached out to by Converse to do a shoot in Portland. Nike also reached out and she was flown to Hawaii to shoot for them. She has also done shoots for Adidas, Levis, and the television show Degrassi. Her work is displayed all over Portland coffee shops and has been in exhibits in Paris, Berlin, Spain, New York, and California. She has a book titled "Kids in Love" which is a collection of her photographs.
Talent is an illusion: Olivia Bee at TEDxAthens 2013

"I am really inspired by daily life and the beauty that that can hold: like the way someone holds their pencil or the way someone smiles at their best friend or the way someone walks down the street. I am very influenced by the '60s and '70s, and also the styling from the '70s really influences the way I put colors together, but I think that you can see that I shoot through a young lens."

"I love photography because it is a way for me to really to show my life to myself and be like "look at all this amazing stuff you've experienced". It really makes me think that my life has been totally worth living and really helps me appreciate every single day."