When Los Angeles-based photographer Natalie Faye started living part-time in Southern Oregon, she knew she needed to find the best local honey. After asking around town, she was introduced to Sarah Red-Laird, a.k.a. The Bee Girl. Sarah is a local beekeeper and the Founder and Executive Director of The Bee Girl Organization, a nonprofit designed to promote the preservation of bees and beekeeping through education and community engagement.
Oddly enough, Sarah needed a photographer to help create both images and video content for her website, and Natalie was the perfect gal for the job.
Sarah was interested in having a video that helped push forward the work of her non-profit, The Bee Girl Organization. I felt that highlighting her personal journey was a great way to highlight her unique voice, and show the heart and soul of her efforts as a conservationist.
Natalie and her filmmaking partner, Elijah, also happened to be working on a mini-docu-series called Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives and thought this would be a great story to include, as it shows someone making an impact in the world and inspiring others. Once they all agreed on imagery and video content, the project was underway!
After they made the rounds with Sarah, taking photos as she tended to her bees for the branding shoot, Natalie and Elijah were able to put together a comprehensive shot list and were ready to start filming the video.
Understanding the mood of the bees was an exciting challenge the duo faced during this shoot. Sarah proved to be invaluable on this subject since she’s spent so much time near the bees and can sense how the little critters are feeling. Depending on the bees’ temperament, Sarah chose to wear protective gear, and Natalie followed suit.
I learned that bees are really sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and so even the threat of rain makes the little guys grumpy. Since we knew that we wanted to be extremely close to the hives, we took the mood of our ‘talent’ into consideration as we chose our shoot days.
Natalie’s favorite part of this project was having the chance to meet, learn, and work on a compelling story that has been overwhelmingly well-received. Given her love of honey, tasting a sample straight from the hive was also a big plus!
I think Sarah’s story is powerful because it speaks to two growing trends in our culture right now; two desires that many people are searching to fulfill: the desire to contribute, to have purpose, to do meaningful work and the desire to get back to nature and to reconnect with where our food comes from.
Honey bees pollinate one-third of all the foods we eat, and their conservation is an ever-growing concern. Sarah and the Bee Girl Organization currently take care of 2.6 million bees, and in 2016 they enrolled 3,372 kids into their Kids & Bees program designed to educate the next generation on the importance of bees.
Natalie hopes to keep working with The Bee Girl Organization and is continuing her mini-documentary series with Elijah, focusing on inspiring individuals.
See more of Natalie at nataliefaye.net