Kiwi mum's photos get global attention

10:34, Aug 27 2014
This image won silver in the Classic portrait category of the NZIPP/Epson Iris Awards.
WARRIOR GIRL: Violet looks determined, or perhaps fierce, in this photo.
Has a fairy landed on Violet's boat?
Violet looks up at a giraffe at the Auckland Zoo.
This photo of Violet standing in a boat is actually her at a Northland beach inlet.

People around the world are looking at beautiful photos of four-year-old Auckland girl Violet Spring, taken by her mum Holly.

The Te Atatu mother has taken out the creative photographer of the year award from the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers.

Her photos have piqued the interest of major media organisations not only because of the works' ethereal beauty but also because of Violet's interesting story.

Holly Spring
GOLD PHOTO: Holly Spring's daughter features in her award winning photo.

"Holly Spring is a one-of-a-kind mother who took up photography after her young daughter's struggles with Hirschsprung's Disease and no left hand," reported website Wimp.

The Daily Mail website reported today that photography was far from Spring's mind when Violet was struck down.

"Clinging to life in an Auckland Hospital, it was at that this point the New Zealand mother realised just how incredibly important her daughter's fragile life was to her, so she began documenting it using digital photography," the Daily Mail said.


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Spring said that everything changed in her life when Violet became ill.

“I knew she was everything and that I would devote my art and life to her.”

She said she was only now becoming aware that her photos were creating a global sensation.

“It’s gone all over the world; I am overwhelmed by it all.”

Violet, who starts school soon, loves being the model.

“It is all role playing. We make it a game.”

The pictures are often a Photoshop blending of Violet and other pictures taken, including landscapes.

A photo of Violet standing in a boat is actually her at a Northland beach inlet in a boat on the beach paired with a mix of Te Atatu sky shots made to look like water. 

Originally a musician and graphic artist, Spring switched to photography and initially did portraits and weddings.

As much as she enjoyed being with people, there was a problem with weddings; she wanted to do more with the photos.

“I am a creative mind … and I want to create whimsical art with heart.”

Spring submitted 10 images to the competition; five were awarded silver with distinction and four were awarded silver status.

The photograph of Violet standing alongside a giraffe received gold status.

Spring credits Violet for making her move into photography.

"When Violet was born she was quite sick," she said.

"She had major surgery at three months of age. Just after surgery, she went blue and stopped breathing.

"I realised if I don't try to capture memories of her, I might not get another chance.

"It is my passion to bring out a sense of wonder in kids where they are only limited to what they can imagine."

Spring has described her daughter as " muse and my heart that inspires me to follow my passion and share these unique photos and digital art with you." 

On the US Today show website the photographs are described as "a series of dreamy portraits to celebrate the girl and her strength in the face of some unexpected health problems that left the girl without a fully-formed left hand."

It said that when Violet was two, she asked, "Mummy, when is my hand going to grow?" and Spring said it broke her heart to have to tell her daughter it would never develop. 

One image came about after Spring went along on Violet's preschool trip to the Auckland Zoo and took a photo of a giraffe, which was then paired with a photo of the girl looking up. 

Many noticed that in that picture Violet's right hand was missing, rather than the left.

Spring explained on her Facebook page she simply flipped the image.

The awards have increased her workload and the fine prints are being sold globally by an Auckland art house.

And to that great and timeless question: she is currently shooting on Canon but is thinking of moving over to Nikon.

Visit Holly Spring Photography's Facebook page to see more photos.