Enough of the horrors of war and tragedy photographs. Today, let’s talk about a photograph that epitomize peace, satisfaction and thankfulness. Let’s talk about saying grace!
Eric Enstrom created this photograph, called “Grace”, in 1918. Neither the photographer nor the subject knew that one day it will become a famous photograph world over. The photograph depicts an old man sitting on a dining table saying thanksgiving prayer before beginning to eat a simple meal. The old man has big white mustache and beard. He is touching his hands, with interlocked fingers, to his bowing forehead in traditional Christian manner. On table lay a loaf of bread, a bowl of soup, a knife and a bible on which the man has set his glasses.
This photograph was taken in Enstrom’s studio in the mining town of Bovey, Minnesota. The man appearing in the photograph is Charles Wilden who had walked into Enstrom’s studio to meet him.
“There was something about the old gentleman’s face that immediately impressed me. I saw that he had a kind face… there weren’t any harsh lines in it,” Enstrom said in recalling the 1918 visit of Charles Wilden to his studio.
Enstrom requested the Charles Wilden to pose for a photograph. Wilden obliged and that is how we got this beautiful masterpiece. The original photograph was black and white. Later Rhoda Nyberg, daughter of Eric Enstrom, colorize it by hand. Most of the reproductions of this photo are in color.
“I wanted to take a picture that would show people that even though they had to do without many things because of the war they still had much to be thankful for,” Enstrom had said at a convention of the Minnesota Photographer’s Association.
Enstrom himself had called Grace as the best of the thousands of pictures he had taken. In 2002 this photograph was designated as the state photograph of the Minnesota state.
Today, you can buy prints of this photograph from shops and online stores like Amazon and eBay. In United States, you will find this photograph hanging in innumerable homes, churches, restaurants and other buildings. In Bovey, Minnesota, this photograph features everywhere. The town proudly declares itself to be the “Home of the picture Grace”.
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