After a busy week, I was stopped in my tracks by a recent episode of The American Edit with aerospace-engineer-turned-photographer/artist/blogger, Mary Jo Hoffman. A sharp left turn in Hoffman's life came when she left her job and started investing more domestically in her growing family. A creative project here and there started to fill in gaps of her own busy days.
About five years ago, she began a practice of collecting nature objects during her morning dog-walk. She wanted to slow down, be attentive to her surroundings, and pursue something creative with no agenda in mind. So, she continued to collect. And, every evening, as she cooked dinner, she laid her objects in the glow from her kitchen skylight, and photographed them.
Before long, her small daily ritual caught the attention of some big names, and her blog was thrust into media limelight. She may have gained some eyes, but her work remained consistent. For her, it really continued to be about the pace, the practice of paying mind, and the almost-selfish joy of relishing in beautiful things.
What especially resonated with me about her story was an honest commitment to take on a small project that manageably fit into the fringes of her real life. A 20-minute walk, a between-stirs photo shoot, a quick blog post. These were the moments she willingly gave. Day in and day out. She didn't shoot to become famous overnight, nor did she immediately start monetizing her work. It was simply a good thing in her life, and she let it remain to be that, even when others started noticing.
That's a good word. One I'm preaching to myself again today.