By Nathan Sites
Once she was sitting in a seat in Mr. Tim Cleland’s classroom, waiting for the hour to end, interested in what was being taught. Now she is in the crowd at the Olympics, snapping photos for the ages.
Grace Hollars is a 2015 Delta High School graduate who now works as a photographer for the Indianapolis Star newspaper.
Grace soon will be attending her third Olympics to photograph all the great moments that are going to happen. She has already been to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics and to Pyongyang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This summer she will be working the Olympics again in Tokyo, Japan.
When she was 6 years old, her father was going through some National Geographic magazines. Grace was stunned by the image of an Afghan girl; the image told her story without saying a word. The curiosity overcame her and made her want to take pictures like Steve McCurry did of the little girl.
When she was young, Grace would listen as her dad, an architect, would tell her stories about his life. She learned that her grandfather was a photographer, and her grandmother told him that photography wasn’t a real job, so that dream of his died. But it was revived by Grace, for it is in her blood to finish what her grandfather started.
Photography for Grace is like magic. Photos can be taken so quickly and so diligently. The magicians claim to use magic, but photography is the only real magic that will make you think that “it happened so fast but it made the world stand still.” Grace says, “Incredible images are created when you start seeing the world for all of its imperfections and turning it into gold.”
Grace says she doesn’t ever have time to think about pressure. She just takes photos with the confidence that they will come out great. When she goes to the Tokyo Olympics this summer, she hopes to take the best photo. She says she will look at all of the other photographers from around the world and then tell herself, “I will outshoot every person here.”
Grace doesn’t have what she thinks is “her best picture.” She thinks that she still has yet to take that photo.
Maybe she’ll find that photo at the 2020 Olympics, which were postponed to this year. They will take place July 23 to Aug. 8.
The 2020 Olympics were postponed because of Covid-19, which has also changed jobs and schools drastically. Many people either work or do school from home, but some jobs aren’t able to be worked on from home, like Grace’s job. Her job requires her to go out and interact with people.
Although she has taken photos at professional and collegiate sports, her favorite games to photograph are at the high school level. “There is something about the players and their egos I love,” Grace explains. “A lineman will scream after sacking the quarterback. Swimmers will beat their chest after barely beating the swimmer in the other lane.”
She likes them because these emotional moments are not seen as much in professional sports anymore.
She has many favorite moments from the Olympics, but one of her favorites was taking a photo of three-time gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White and his halfpipe win. Her photo was hung on the Canon wall as one of the best photographs from the 2018 Games.
She has been recognized often as one of Indiana’s top photographers in industry awards competitions.
“And I see my dad beaming with joy because he is so proud of me? Absolutely priceless,” she says.
Protests continue in downtown Indianapolis, Saturday, May 30, 2020. Protesters march in response to the police involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Photo by Grace Hollars)