Through Amber Mozo's Lens, Life is Beautiful

Posted by Rhea Cortado on

Amber Mozo and her husband Colby in Hawaii. Photo by

Those lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii know that the ocean’s waves, colorful reefs and creatures below the surface can be equally enchanting and frightening. Even for someone like photographer Amber Mozo who’s experienced tragedy of the worst kind at the hands of the sea — Amber’s father, Jon Mozo was a renowed surf photographer who died while shooting at Backdoor when she was 10-years-old — the eternal optimist sees beauty in her lens.

With the blessing of her family to follow her creativity, Amber opted out of high school early to pursue her photography career. And from the looks of her portfolio, Fiji is way more awesome than prom. We caught up with Amber after she just returned from Bali to talk more about photography style and why Hawaii is home.

Right now we’re in a crazy age of photography, it’s so easy to take photos wherever you are. What do you look for in the frame when taking an image?

Amber Mozo: It is VERY easy to take photos these days, everyone is doing it! But you can really tell when an artist worked hard to create a photo that is their style. What's interesting to me is when a common concept such as surfing has a special twist on it from the photographer's own style. I love long shutters and soft lighting. I always try to make sure I'm staying true to my style when taking an image.
Malia Manuel. Photo by Amber Mozo. 

One of Amber's photography muses, her husband Colby. Photo by Amber Mozo. 
Ohana and island life. Photo by Amber Mozo. 
You’ve said you started taking photos after your dad died as a type of therapy. How did his passing change your childhood and your relationship to the ocean?

Amber: It was naturally therapeutic for me. It was my creative outlet and it will always be. I love constantly creating. With my Dad drowning in the ocean it hasn't ever made me hate the ocean. I know my limits and would never shoot at certain surf breaks but I love the ocean. It’s home for me.

What is the surf community of women surfers, and creatives in general like on the North Shore? Why are your friends important living on a small island?

Amber: There’s a small but awesome community of women surfers here on the North Shore. All of the girls are full of sunshine and supportive of each other out in the water. This island is beautiful but it’s the company that gives it its spirit. Friends are most important because they are the ones who motivate you to get in the water!

You get a ton of comments on Tumblr and Instagram! How does it feel to gain so much support from people you’ve never met? 
Amber: It’s quite overwhelming at times. I often think 'how do I deserve all of this awesome support!!?' I'm very grateful for the people who appreciate the same things that I do…. Love, family, ocean, surfing. 
Amber and Colby. Amber wears the Hermosa Surf Suit in Earth Waves. By 
Amber and Colby. Amber wears the Hermosa Surf Suit in Earth Waves. By
Amber and Colby. Amber wears the Hermosa Surf Suit in Earth Waves. By
Amber and Colby. Amber wears the Hermosa Surf Suit in Earth Waves. By
Amber and Colby. Amber wears the Hermosa Surf Suit in Earth Waves. By
You never went to college and were homeschooled. Why was this the right path for you and your creativity?

Amber: I attended public school until 9th grade and after that I had lots of dreams and the school schedule was slowing me down. I’m a very independent person so I decided to finish school early, graduate and start my photography business. It was definitely the best choice for me growing up.

You’ve talked about Fiji on your blog being your special place, why?

Amber: I started working in Fiji two years ago. I was sent out there by myself and put on a tiny little island called Namotu. It’s absolutely stunning in Fiji... the waves, the water, the reef… There’s something about being in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on a pile of sand away from all of the hustle and bustle from the rest of the world. It’s simply special.

Whenever you come home from a trip, why does Hawaii feel like home?

Hawaii feels like home because I was raised here all my life. I travel heaps and I love experiencing new things and different cultures but there really is…no place like home :-)

What’s your next aspiration and big dream that you want to accomplish in your photography or creative life?

Thats a secret , you're going to have to wait and see!! ;)

How is surfing part of your life, and part of life in Hawaii?

Surfing frees me. When I'm out in the ocean on my surfboard I am in my own world. I can just be. I feel that a lot of people from Hawaii agree and like to live like this.
Follow Amber Mozo's island life on Instagram: @ambermozo
Fiji. Photo by Amber Mozo. 
Waikiki. Photo by Amber Mozo. 
All photos by Amber Mozo and 


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