Guy Tal, on Gratitude (#291) 05-05-13

Here's a quick Sunday missive on a repeating topic that is dear to my heart, gratitude. The article of today's post is by Guy Tal, a landscape photographer and writer with a philosophical bent. See his website HERE.

The article of my interest is his blog post of April 2, entitled "The Grateful Mind". He references the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a surprise to me. I think of Nietzsche's the concept of God being dead, hardly what I associate with art and gratitude. Nevertheless, according to Tal, Nietzsche said, β€œThe essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” So there!

I am intrigued by this idea, as I have felt it in my own photography. When I take time to feel gratitude about my surroundings, personal situation, the weather (anything!), it is much easier to approach strangers and ask for a portrait. Moreover, the percentage of people who agree to be photographed is higher, and the quality of the personal encounter seems better.

And it has become easier to mentally prepare myself for photography. A few brief moments of being humble and grateful, of getting my "head straight", clears and opens the mind for whatever situations may present themselves. A grateful mind is receptive mind. Guy Tal says, "Humility is the fertile soil for a grateful mind; and a grateful mind, beyond any tool or technique you may own or master, is the engine of creativity and emotion that manifest in meaningful art."

The Grateful Mind is a brief, but powerful essay. Read it HERE.