This is Olivia Bell. Some of you may have already heard of that name - but if you haven't, you're in for a treat because this girl's got talent! Olivia Bell is a 20 year old self-educated entrepreneur, photographer, and a dear friend of mine. Olivia is also one of the three brains behind iPhone Wallpaper Designs, The Bell Sisters and many other various websites which she co-owns with her gorgeous sisters, Rosanna Bell and Sasha Bell. I am featuring Olivia Bell as this week's Weekend Inspiration, because it is so lovely to see a friend of yours blossom into the wonderful person he/ she is today instead of looking up to celebrities or strangers.
One of the many things I found so inspiring about Olivia, is that I got to see her grow into the amazing photographer that she is today - from a 15 year old girl who enjoyed graphic design and took photographs of herself to a 20 year old photographer who is already taking stunning photographs of a variety of subjects and being featured in several photography website. Besides that, Olivia never slaved through school like most of us. Everything she knows, she has learnt herself, with the help of the people around her. She mentions that she learns through trial and error, asking questions, and such.
I have managed to snag an interview with Olivia, and she was nice enough to respond so quickly. So, enjoy!
When did you start taking up photography and why?
Originally I wanted to learn how to take nice portraits – just so I could have a nice photograph where I didn’t look awful.
That’s where it all originated from really. I’ve been using a DSLR since 2007 – but it wasn’t until 2010 that I really realized how much I enjoyed it.
Was there someone who had inspired you to take up photography?
To begin with, no, but since starting I’ve spent time looking at all types of photography which has since inspired me.
What camera do you use?
I use a Canon EOS 5D mark II
Who is your favourite photographer and why?
I feel a bit silly when I’m asked questions like these, mainly because if I’m 100% honest, I don’t have any particular favourite.
I follow about 200 photographers on Flickr, so when I login to upload a photograph I may see a few photographs, favourite them etc, but that’s all I really do.
Do you have a source of inspiration?
Yes, definitely. When I get stuck, I have several things I do:
- Go for a drive
- Look through my own photography, usually from 6 months ago etc
- Browse Flickr, DeviantART etc
How do your sisters play a role in your photography?
Well, we originally started photography together – from simply taking photographs of each other for Facebook to modeling for my 365 and vice versa.
I know my photography wouldn’t be nearly as good without them and that without them, the opportunities and photographs I’ve had wouldn’t be the same.
Do you plan ahead what subject you want to shoot, or is it something impromptu?
80% of the time it’s more impromptu than planned.
Is it difficult to get up everyday and think of something to shoot for your 365 project? Do you sometimes find it tiresome? If so, how do you overcome it?
I’ve almost finished my 365 project, so now it doesn’t feel so difficult. But to begin with, and about half way through I definitely found it difficult. Especially on days when I was ill, tired, or if the weather was bad.
The only way I think you can get through that sort of “block” is to just “do”. Don’t over think it, don’t think about the project/the challenge and just focus on the day at present and don’t psyche yourself out by comparing the previous days photo etc.
If you could photograph anything, anywhere and anyone, what would you photograph? And why?
Well, I would love to photograph Paris, Venice, Italy, Spain, Switzerland (mountains) and so many other places.
Do you have a favourite photograph of yours? If so, why?
Hmmmmm wow, gosh I don’t know. Having taken so many photographs I’m not sure I have a favourite. I just love being able to photograph what I love.
Have you wondered how different your life would be if you had gone to school? Do you think you would have had been passionate about something else rather than photography?
Yeah! It would be completely different, but I absolutely love how my life has gone so far, no school, university etc. It’s given me the chance to do a lot of things, which I doubt I’d have been able to do if I had been to school.
Have you ever considered enrolling in photography courses in a university?
No, not really. I haven’t really looked into any courses, but I don’t think a course could teach me and push me the way I have been doing for the past year. I think 365 projects, or something similar is an amazing thing to do because you learn to push yourself.
When I first met you, you owned Letters-To-You and you were more into web design, and graphic design. Do you still dabble in that area?
Not really, no… I do use Photoshop (obviously!) and the things I learnt from LTY have helped my Photoshop techniques, and website know-how, but I’m not focused on graphic design etc.
You’ve joined so many networking sites and own so many sites! Do you find difficulty maintaining all your websites?
I don’t know that I find it difficult, but work does keep me on my toes. If I don’t stay organized and on-top of everything then it can get too much.
I’ve noticed you have a few days left for your 365 project! Have you ever considered what you’d be working on after? Any ideas?
Yes!! It’s incredible how quickly a year goes by, even when you think it’s going slowly it really isn’t. I’ve thought of a few different projects I want to do after my 365 project, but I haven’t set anything in stone yet. But I don’t see myself just stopping photography because the 365 is over!
You and your sisters are always coming up with new projects (websites, apps..etc). What is the most recent project you taken up? If it’s top secret, could you maybe give us a hint?
At the moment we’re focusing our full attention on The Bell Sisters and the products we sell on the website. We do have a few new products on the way, which will be very exciting and we have a new iPhone app on the way… sometime soon!
I hope that through this interview, you get the sense of what Olivia Bell is as a photographer - She is not only passionate, but she is dedicated and strives to be better at what she does. Although she has gained success at such a young age, she remains friendly, humble and often responds to people's questions.
I have incorporated some of my favourite pictures taken by Olivia Bell in this post. Honestly, I had the hardest time selecting a few pictures to feature as there are so many!
The Bell Sisters.
Find out more about Olivia Bell..
Olivia Bell Photography
Facebook Fan Page
The Bell Sisters