New parents and visitors to the maternity wards at Norton Suburban and Baptist East hospitals may already be familiar with Dede Holman’s work, as her artful black-and-white portraits of newborns adorn the hallways in a display of softness and innocence. The photographer, who has had a studio on Bardstown Road near the Douglass Loop for the past three years, started at home – literally.
“I worked out of my house in Strathmoor,” the former high school photography teacher says. “I started with newborns and 18-month-olds; my son Ethan was 16 months old at the time and I graduated from there.”
Besides photographing newborns and their parents, Holman does maternity through high school senior portraiture. Sherry Duncan, the business’s creative director, explains, “We have five or six high schools in the Highlands, and the seniors want to walk around and do something fun and be in the outdoors more than in the studio.” Holman doesn’t do weddings, and says, “I may do a head shot here and there, but it’s mostly children and babies.”
With a staff of five, including herself, husband Craig, who handles the accounting and tech support, and Duncan, Holman’s effortless style comes through, even when the subject may initially feel self-conscious. Her portfolio features pregnancy portraits, many with moms-to-be clad only in sheer draping – or less. “I just play off the mom when she comes in,” says Holman. “Even before I see them, I tell them, ‘You can do skin on skin, you can get naked.’ It’s all about how you feel about your body after you have a baby or when you get pregnant. Or in the studio I’ll say, ‘Let’s go topless!’ But it depends on the vibe that goes on in the session. I never push it; I think that that’s just the essence of the place.”
The vibe is family-friendly, extending to Holman’s three children. “My son is really into taking pictures,” she says. “My daughter [who is three and a half] likes to come in and pull down the backdrops and set up her little baby dolls. She thinks it’s the best thing in the world.” At seven and a half now, Ethan has an idea that his mom doesn’t just take snapshots of people – that it’s the family livelihood. “For a long time, he was on my business card, and he’d cry, ‘Don’t give me away!’” she says. “But he gets paid well in toys when he gets his picture taken.”
Dede Holman’s studio is at 2110 Bardstown Road. You can reach her at (502) 451-1990, and view her work online at www.dedeholmanphotography.com.