I recently bought photographer Olivia Bee’s first book, Kids In Love. I’m not sure I’d recommend it as a piece of curated art; the editing is minimal and it’s more of a collection of all her most popular Flickr snaps from the very beginning of her internet-driven career. But on a personal level, I love it. I can pick it up and let it fall open and every page seems familiar. Her dreamy analogue photography of her friends and lovers was really what pushed me to pick up a proper film camera age 16, after a year of attempting to document my life on disposables. She’s about a year younger than me (and about ten years ahead photographically), and although her adventurous teenage years in Oregon were a far cry from mine and my friends’ comparatively docile existence in west London I always felt a great affinity with her visual experience of youth. (As did most of the internet).
Although often a little too hip and pretentious, I find that Olivia often manages to articulate those things about photography that are hard to pin down. In an interview about the book with Tavi Gevinson recently she said:
“When I take someone’s photograph, it’s very difficult for me to lie about how I feel about them. I think my photos reek of love. It’s almost disgusting.”
And looking back over my own favourite photographs of my favourite people, my favourite places, my favourite memories and experiences, she really hits the nail on the head.