A Salute To Steve Hollier

It is with great regret that we must announce our loss of Steve Hollier, a dear gentleman international travel photojournalist who touched a lot of lives and wrote and photographed with beautiful and very cultured insight.

Steve’s very extensive travels ranged from Southern Africa, through Europe and the Middle east and he was residing in Baku, Azerbaijan with his beloved wife Sandra when he died.

His writing and editing for the journal AZ magazine was exemplary http://www.az-magazine.com/ and his excellent blog entitled Azerbaijan Days – Living in the land of fire is one of true quality, quite brilliant.  We have greatly enjoyed his writing and would like to direct you to some of his articles that we particularly enjoyed:

There are many more treasures to be found on his blog.

There’s a refined selection of his images to view on Flickr. Perusal of his Picasa Web albums, will take your breath away too, and because there are one hundred and twenty-five of them up-loaded, and because anoxia is bad for the brain – it’s best to take them in stages. His shots are pin sharp and picture postcard perfect and his choice of subject and his perspectives testify to his powerfully cultured intelligence.

Steve said “When you look at a photograph, it tells you more about the photographer than the subject. That means that when people look at your images, it is a way of communicating something about yourself and your world view. All art is a means of communication and for me, the most enjoyable thing about photography is being able to speak through pictures.”

Steve’s many and varied images show his love of the world and its people, and the smiles on his subjects’ faces show that  it was a love reciprocated.

 His work lives on  and will give pleasure and interest beyond our ability to measure. He helped a lot of people through  the British Council , was a gift to the world and opened a delightfully sensitive view of Azerbaijan.

Sandra Williams, Hugh & Charles Paxton


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6 Responses to A Salute To Steve Hollier

  1. Julia Hawkes-Moore says:

    A dear friend who will be greatly missed by many.

    I am deeply shocked. One of the kindest, happiest, most clever and successful of my dear friends – has just died.

    I met Steve Hollier 18 years ago and we became life-long friends. With Skype and email we had connected again, and laughed a great deal about old times and mutual friends.
    Steve met the lovely Sandra and moved to Cairo, Namibia and then Azerbaijan. They bought a house together in Carcassonne to retire to. He had just started his dream job, Editor of a glossy magazine about Azerbaijani culture, and Sandra had made him feel fulfilled, valued and energetic. He went climbing mountains and posting his brilliant photos on his almost-daily blog.

    The last thing I wrote to Steve was:

    “Bravo, well done! Second issue out and holiday imminent!

    Gosh, Steve, I am so proud of you for having got your work/life balance just right! You are entitled (IMHO) to have the Medal for Most Successful Man I Know! Sandra deserves to be very proud of you, she has done you Good!

    I hope the ear infection is cured, and your grump is over.”

    I am glad I wrote that, and that he read it before he died.

    My heart is bursting with pain for Sandra. Everything was so wonderful for them both; Why This? Everything was perfect for him: why did he have to go? A lot of people will be asking that question, all across the Planet.

    There is no answer. Perhaps Sandra will hear the answer in Time.

  2. ians says:

    There was, of course, far more to Steve than music – he was a true Renaissance Man. But music was where our particular worlds collided.

    Fat Freddy’s Cat was an established band when Steve joined. His first rehearsal was a tense affair; but Steve was one of life’s smilers and any nerves he felt were managed well. As we finished he remarked; “this is the band I’ve been waiting for all my life”. Little did he, or we for that matter, know that FFC was simply a transit camp – a place to be – until he met the woman he’d been waiting for all his life.

    Joining a gang can be difficult; established hierarchies, relationships, jokes, codes – all need to be interpreted and negotiated by the newbie. But it works both ways – Steve brought new music and a new audience and as a result we started playing tunes we wouldn’t have thought of before. To people we wouldn’t have thought of before.

    Our repertoire expanded and so did Steve’s role in the band, displaying, in addition to his proficiency on the accordion, a hitherto unknown flair for fruit-shaped percussion. (What possesses someone to go into a music shop and buy pieces of fruit that are in fact musical instruments I don’t know. Or why anyone would make them, for that matter. But it always made the audience laugh when Steve got his pear out).

    We last met in June 2010, during a brief trip back to the UK. Sitting in my garden on the very day I was to go into hospital for the lung resection, we talked about one-lunged singers, never imagining that we would not replay this scene again.

    Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, according to Benjamin Franklin. I’d add one more – because with death (and perhaps taxes) invariably comes regret. Regret at a life not lived more fully or regret at letters unwritten, emails unsent, phone calls unmade. The Universe seems full of regrets – perhaps the shooting star we see on a starry night is not the soul of the dearly departed, as many like to think, but the manifestation of someone, somewhere bemoaning an action not taken.

    But that could not be true in the case of Steve; he was not someone given to regret. His life was lived to the full with energy and enthusiasm. And a smile.

    RIP Steve Hollier; you will be greatly missed. And thank you for the music.

  3. David says:

    My son James is currently in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan. Steve befriended many of the PCV’s, and we heard so many wonderful things about him that I asked James to invite Steve to join us in Greece this summer. Our week together was magical. Steve was a delight, days exploring Peloponnese, nights full of wine, wonderful stories, political debates, and laughter. We feel so blessed to have come to know him this summer, and we are devastated at his early passing. We will never forget you Steve!

    Dave & Cindy Wrocklage

  4. Ayten says:

    I am shocked. I received last email from Steve on October 10th. Azerbaijan lost a dear friend. May he rest in peace…We will all miss Steve very much…My deep condolences to his family…

  5. Oh No…what a tragedy. Sandra please accept my heartfelt condolences. I am not sure if Steve ever told you how I discover him, I promise him that when I do come back to visit my home country this winter 2011. We will meet face to face and have some tea in chaixana. He even knew where I used to live, because I asked him to go to my street and take a few pictures of my street. I am speechless…I will never forget how I found Steve’s Blog on google.az while in search of my old school # 60. I was kind of suspicious I have not heard anything from him lately, because we would greet each other online. I just thought he was busy with az-magazine.com…..Rest in peace, so close but so far away now Steve. Unfortunately Steve we will have to postpone our chaixana get together meeting for next time.. =(

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