Behind the Campaign: Olivia Bee photographs Jeff Goldblum for eyewear brand, Jacques Marie Mage

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Bee takes inspiration from the actor’s life experiences and varied career for the editorial’s narrative

Jeff Goldblum has been a household name in the movie industry for more than three decades, ever since he appeared in two of the 90’s highest grossing films – Jurassic Park and Independence Day. It’s only in the last few years that he’s begun to cause a stir in the fashion industry. In 2018 he beat Jonah Hill, Bella Hadid and Cardi B to the number one spot on Dazed’s list of ‘Most Stylish People’, while an Instagram profile dedicated solely to his outfits (@goodasgoldblum) already has over 30,000 followers, despite being set up in February of this year.

“Who isn’t a fan of Jeff Goldblum, I mean he’s an icon,” says Olivia Bee, the 27-year-old photographer and director commissioned to shoot Goldblum for his debut collaboration with eyewear brand, Jacques Marie Mage. The shoot was orchestrated by the actor’s stylist Andrew T. Vottero – also responsible for Jeff’s fashion account – with whom Bee had worked twice previously. It took place over a single day at LA’s Chateau Marmont last March. “It just sort of all came together,” she says.

“I want to show them as they really are to the world – showing the true personality of people in photographic terms. Andrew has worked closely with Jeff the last few years, and it’s really evolved Jeff’s style to who I think Jeff’s always been, but kind of wanted to show the world. That was a big part of the campaign.”

Jeff Goldblum, 2021 © Olivia Bee for Jacques Marie Mage.

Describing the set-up as, “old 70’s Hollywood but with a new spin on it”, Goldblum appears poolside in a silk dressing gown and the kind of loud shirt he’s become celebrated for. He holds a drink in one hand and a yellow corded phone in the other. In another shot he sits at a grand piano, dressed in a tux – a nod to his musical career with jazz band Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. “That’s a big part of how I photograph people in general,” Bee says. “I want to show them as they really are to the world – showing the true personality of people in photographic terms. Andrew has worked closely with Jeff the last few years, and it’s really evolved Jeff’s style to who I think Jeff’s always been, but kind of wanted to show the world. That was a big part of the campaign.”

Moving to a farm in Eastern Oregon early in the pandemic, Bee spent much of the lockdown feeding animals and tending to her permaculture garden. The campaign was her first shoot in six months, and the opportunity to work with other creative people was a strong draw.

“Honestly the biggest part was getting back into the rhythm of a team and working with Jeff Goldblum. Making something really special, and being part of a small team making really cool art that benefited everyone,” she enthuses. “It was a super chill day, but energetic in a good way. Jeff just brings the energy, he’s very very special. I had heard that he’s amazing from people who work with him, but I just didn’t understand how amazing he was. He deserves every recognition he has, and more.”

Jeff Goldblum, 2021 © Olivia Bee for Jacques Marie Mage.
Jeff Goldblum, 2021 © Olivia Bee for Jacques Marie Mage.

Growing up in Portland, Bee started taking photographs while in her teens before moving to New York. Her first big job was a project with Converse at 15, while work with Nike and Levi’s followed; she’s also worked closely with the musician Maggie Rogers, and collaborated with Katy Perry and Kesha. Concurrent to everything has been a strong commitment and unrelenting desire to create personal stories. Balance, she reflects today, is a key component of her practice. “There’s a reason I worked for 10 years non-stop and now I live on a farm,” she laughs. “I was on a really crazy video music shoot last week and then coming back to the quiet and being able to go work in my garden and make sure the pigs are happy – it’s brought a lot of perspective.”

“It was definitely a big deal for me to shoot Jeff Goldblum,” she continues. “But every job I do, no matter if it’s purely for the bank account or a job that’s editorial, there’s always a purpose behind it. I don’t take every job. And I feel like I bring my sensibility every time I go onto a photoshoot. I always want to get good art at the end of the day, that’s always my goal.”

Zoe Whitfield

Zoe Whitfield is a freelance writer based in London. Her work has appeared in British Vogue, i-D, AnOther, Dazed Digital, Wallpaper*, Interview, Vice, Garage, Huck and Refinery29.