When Black Girl Magic in the arts comes to mind, Bee Walker is a woman to know. The New York City based photographer is ½ of the renowned Rog and Bee photography duo. She and her husband Rog have photographed the likes of our lipcrushes Beyonce’ and Solange. (Bee was featured in Solange’s “Word to Woman” Puma collaboration). Together, Bee and Rog are co-directors and founders of Paper Monday, an ongoing visual research project that examines human experience and identity through visual storytelling. Bee is a storyteller in every sense of the word. In observing Bee’s work you’ll find that she’s talented, stunning, innovative and passionate. I got a chance to chat with Bee one Friday afternoon where we talked beauty, identity and lipstick.
Image of Bee Walker by Rog Walker for his docu-series, Visual Insights
This interview was conducted by Nia Shumake
What’s your definition of beauty?
Bee: The dictionary definition talks about a combination of qualities that are pleasing to the senses - especially the eye. For me, those qualities are connected to vitality, expression, and spirituality.
You mentioned in one of your interviews that everything that is beautiful is not always easy to look at. What’s your interpretation of that?
Bee: When a person is unapologetically true to themselves, sometimes it’s an assault on social norms. As people living in society, there’s a tendency to want to fit ourselves into a box so that it’s easier for us to get along in the world. The things we do to fit in actually push people away because they become pretenses that other people can feel. It’s beautiful to be around someone who is unpretentious, clear, and honest. When someone is being themselves it gives you permission to be to be your self. It’s cliche but it’s also true.
Why is identity so vital to your specific medium of storytelling?
Bee: Our work involves portraiture, storytelling, and character development all of which involve identity. We started as a core community, and we were all non-conformists in one way or another. Now, mainstream society and media appreciates the expression of individual identity more than it used to. It’s really cool to see people wanting to celebrate every one’s uniqueness.
What’s your fav lip color?
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Stay tuned for more from Bee Walker! Want to see more of her journey? Follow Paper Monday on IG! Comment Below!