Olivia Bee

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Olivia Bee
Olivia Bee SVA NYC.jpg
Bee at the School of Visual Arts in New York City
Born (1994-04-05) April 5, 1994 (age 24)
OccupationPhotographer, Fine Artist

Olivia Bolles (born April 5, 1994),[1] better known as Olivia Bee, is an American photographer.[2]

Her book, Kids in Love, was published by Aperture in 2016.

Personal life[edit]

Bee is the daughter of a hairdresser mother and a high-tech worker. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, where she attended da Vinci Arts Middle School.[3][4] She moved to Brooklyn, New York when she was 18 years old.[5]


Bee's interest in photography began at the age of 11 when she first took a photography class.[5] In 2013 she summarised her early work as "Like, stuffed animals and a picture of my mom in the kitchen."[3] Afterwards, Bee began taking photos independently and uploading them to the image hosting website Flickr, where the footwear company Converse saw her work and asked her to photograph for their company.[5] Her work was used in an advertising campaign for Converse when she was 14.[6] Her work was also used in campaigns for Adidas, Fiat, Hermès, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike and Subaru, and published by The New York Times and Le Monde.[3][5][7] Bee decided to pursue photography as a full-time career after unsuccessfully applying to study at Cooper Union in New York City.[3]

Her work is largely focused on her own life and that of her friends; Kurt Soller of New York described her work as "dreamy, seventies-inspired photographs of maybe-wasted, increasingly famous young people who just want to have fun, injected with ombré washes of color (often pink)",[3] while Kathy Sweeney of The Guardian observed that "Bee finds a dreamlike, innocent colour in her friends' gently dissolute experimentation."[5] In an interview with Paper Magazine, Bee characterized her work as "real, obsessive emotions put in a pop context."[8] Her photographs often diverge from the rule of thirds, instead placing subjects in the center of the frame.[3]

In 2011 she cited Ryan McGinley, Annie Leibovitz and Nan Goldin as influences,[9] and attributes her inspiration to her younger brother, mother and father's musical and artistic talents.[7]


  • Kids in Love. New York City: Aperture, 2016. ISBN 978-1597113458. With an interview by Tavi Gevinson.


  1. ^ Bee, Olivia (April 5, 2011). "seventeen". Olivia Bee. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  2. ^ Kellner, Amy (November 23, 2011). "Our Teenage Photographer of Teenage Lust". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Soller, Kurt (February 9, 2013). "The Very Rapid Rise of the Very Precocious Photographer Olivia Bee". New York. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  4. ^ Jones, Syndney; Hauth, Sophie (28 November 2016). "Capturing the Light". Grant Magazine. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Sweeney, Kathy (February 23, 2013). "Olivia Bee: 'People Don't take me seriously – until they see me work'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  6. ^ House, Kelly (May 29, 2012). "Portland's Olivia Bolles, 18, attracts attention in professional photography world". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Lanz, Desiree (July 23, 2011). "Young Photographer Succeeds At Snapping Away". Neon Tommy. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Sidell, Lainey (April 1, 2016). "Photographer Olivia Bee on Shooting "Kids in Love"". Paper Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  9. ^ Little, Myles (September 9, 2011). "Smells Like Teen Spirit: Tavi Gevinson Interviews Olivia Bee". Time. Retrieved June 18, 2012.

External links[edit]