Who am I? I’m Holly Awwad. But my name isn’t who I am. I am a wife, I am a mother, but before I was either of those, I was a photographer.
In high school, I was obsessed with photojournalism. My father had a set of Time Life Photography books and I would flip through the pages in awe of the art they contained. I loved beautiful black & white street photography and portraiture. I was drawn to this genre so much that the first classes that I took in college were photojournalism and photography classes.
After high school I married my high school sweetheart and then I had two of the most monumental “life moments” a woman can have. In 2005, we welcomed our first daughter, and I became a mother. And 8-months later, I lost mine.
My mother had been sick during my pregnancy and I didn’t know then how to help her. After my first daughter, Sarah, was born I started photographing her and my mother with my point and shoot (the only camera I had at the time), making prints for my mom to help lift her spirits. After she passed, I no longer had her as my reason to photograph, but in its place, I had a bigger purpose to pick up my camera. My family. My three girls. My everything.
Since losing my mother and rediscovering photography, I’ve made my focus to capture those “a-ha moments”, the moments where I shoot something and I instantly know that I’ve made my vision become a reality. In November of 2014, I took a silhouette of my two oldest girls against one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. This is how I wanted my photographs to look and how I wanted to feel when I saw them.
My style as it is today lies somewhere in the gray area between documentary and fine art photography. I love to sprinkle my work with creative shots and I’m addicted to freelensing. I love clean composition and rich colors in my work. I love to use light in creative ways to shape my subjects and create a mood. My style doesn’t really fit neatly into a box or definition, but that’s ok. Because this is “MY” voice.
Being in the room when my mother took her last breath made me face my mortality, and realize what was truly important to me. Time passes so quickly, and life is so short. I want to capture and relish every moment with the people I love. Creating something that will be around for my family long after I’m gone has become my “Why”. Photography is for my girls, as much as is is for myself. It’s for my grandchildren, and it’s for my husband. It’s the proof that we all were here together, and proof of how much I loved my family.
I hope you enjoyed my story! Stay tuned for my interview with Megan Boggs and Melissa Ortendahl on hello storyteller – the podcast, as well as my next post on “what’s in my bag” and a mini-lesson on freelensing!