GIRL WONDER: Olivia Bee

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GIRL WONDER introduces you to global #GIRLBOSSES who are doing it young, and doing it well. 

Today we're profilin' Brooklyn-based photographer, OLIVIA BEE, who has worked with brands from Converse to Roger Vivier, and had her work published in Vice, The New York Times, and Harper's BAZAAR Germany. Not bad for a 20 (!) year old...

Olivia Bee by Arthur Pomeroy

AGE

20

LOCATION

Brooklyn, New York

OCCUPATION

Photographer and sometimes director.

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

I started taking photos in middle school after taking a [photography] class on accident. I slowly became addicted...it was the one art form that really stuck with me.

WHO INSPIRED YOU IN THE BEGINNING? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?

Annie Leibovitz was the first photographer when I was like "Wow, damn, she HAS it. That's what photos are about. These are stories. She's untouchable." I still really love her early work. These days I really love Synchrodogs, Ryan McGinley, Gregory Crewdson, Tim Walker, Mike Brodie, and Eva O'Leary.

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WHEN DID YOUR PASSION BECOME YOUR DAY JOB?

When I was 15 and got noticed on the internet by Converse.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

A book, a short film (still in the writing stage)), a few editorials are about to come out, a few advertising things too. Sorry can't say much, haha! I will say everything I'm making right now has to do with the desert, pretty much. Following those vibes super hard.

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WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE WORKED ON SO FAR?

The Anais Anais print/tv campaign I shot last year in Barcelona  was amazing. I'm also really happy with the self portrait project I just shot for Lady Magazine. Also, I finally have enough courage to take photos of my boyfriend and not be embarrassed or scared. That feels so good.

DO YOU EVER WISH YOU'D GONE TO ART SCHOOL/COLLEGE?

Right now, no. I wouldn't be able to be doing that I'm doing if I had to go to school every day. A lot of my friends are in school though, and I definitely envy how they are constantly learning -- so I'm trying to read, and look at photography, and other kinds of art, and listen to music and watch movies and learn in as many ways as I can. I don't want to stop learning.

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DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR?

I don't have a mentor but a lot of people have helped me along the way. Candace Gelman, my agent, has helped me a great deal - as has my producer Mourad Belkeddar in France, who has really started to teach me a lot about movies and about how to tell a story in movement. Brandon Avery at Converse introduced me to advertising.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU'VE LEARNT SO FAR?

Stay true to yourself and make what you want to make. Use YOUR voice because no one else has it. It's impossible for anyone else to be you so you better step up to it.

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WHAT'S THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOU'VE FACED?

It's hard being young and female in an industry dominated by old guys. That's a daily challenge but I don't really give a f*ck anymore.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO GIRLS WHO WANT YOUR JOB?

Work hard. Don't do it for the money or the name; love pictures and take a f*ckton of them.

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WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T DOING THIS?

Still making pictures. Haha.

WHAT'S THE DREAM?

Making feature films, music videos, short films, making so many photographs, books of photographs, writing poetry, moving all over the world, being happy. I'm kinda already doing that I guess, but I can't wait for it to magnify itself.

All photos by Olivia Bee