“I saw people who were praying and they didn’t mind that people were walking behind them,” she said. “It was kind of glimpsing into personal spaces as they try to do this mindful prayer.”
Hoelzer first delved into photography in high school. She perfected the skill later by taking classes and working as a photographer for The Daily Tar Heel. In 2008, eight years after graduating from UNC, she started her own photography company, “A Breath of Fresh Air Photography.”
Hoelzer approached Scott Conary, co-owner of Caffe Driade, for a spot to showcase her work. Being a long-time friend and admirer of Hoelzer’s work, Conary agreed to exhibit her work.
“There’s not many places that somebody can show their work and people can come see it — what’s nice about our cafe is that it is very accessible,” Conary said.
In addition to Conary, many other local community partners also work with Hoelzer. Brian White, co-operator of Fleet Feet Sports Store in Carrboro and Durham, has Hoelzer’s work permanently displayed in his stores.
“We wanted to do some good local graphics, and that’s how we contacted her,” White said. “I think it’s genuine — she really captures the moment, especially with the local photos. When people look up they can connect with the imagery.”
The partnership with Fleet Feet is an appropriate one for Hoelzer, who is an avid runner and a member of the TrailHeads running group, which is based in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
“As a runner you have to focus only on breathing, and because I value each day as you have it, I’m grateful to be able to take those breaths and appreciate the greater world around us,” she said.
After traveling through Europe and Asia, Hoelzer said she plans to explore Africa with her camera next.
“It just gives me a whole new perspective every time I go see the way different people think, prepare their food and live their lives,” she said.
“It’s a good mindful thing to be aware that there’s not just one way that’s the ‘right way’ — there’s just another perspective.”