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About the Grace Photo

by my Great Great Uncle Eric Enstrom

Photography runs in my heritage, from my brother Craig who introduced me to photography to my Great Great Uncle Eric Enstrom who created the "Grace" photo, which became Minnesota’s official state photograph in 2002.

I have stayed at Rhoda Nyberg's house in Bovey. She is the daughter of Eric Enstrom the professional photographer who captured the "Grace" photo. She had lots of her own paintings on the wall. It was that visit that made me aware that the image is part photo, part painted. As on her walls, were original photos that lacked the window light coming down on the left side of the print. Not a secret, but also not commonly known, is how the daughter enhanced the photo by hand oil painting it.

Compare the original sepia tone i have, to the finished hand painted work.

Grace Photo Sepia
Above - original sepia tone without window light or color.

Grace Photo Painting
Above - hand painted popular Grace image.

My mom, Marion Challgren, gave me an original sepia tone photograph without the window light, the photo was originally given to my Grandma Selma, on her wedding day, by Eric Enstrom. One day i was looking at the back of the framed photo and i found news clippings inside an envelope taped to the back of the frame. Its from a 1961 newspaper. The interesting thing for me is how the photo evolved.

And the lessons here are that great images are created scenes, carefully chosen elements. Great photos are made, not taken. Enhanced with techniques after the initial capture, great photos evolve, tweaked and transformed into dynamic images. Visual art is made from our thoughts, to match our visions.

And images need to be seen, promoted, published or they are forgotten in the dark void of time.

I am honored, humbled and inspired by my linkage with "Grace" thanks to my mom Marion, my grandma Selma Enstrom (Olson), my great grandfather Louis Enstrom, brother of Eric Enstrom.

And here is a link to the Grace by Enstrom web site.


by Bruce Challgren


PhotoPixels    612-822-2580    E-Mail    Updated: Wednesday September 3, 2008