I was thinking today about the concept of gratitude, and how important it is in creating your own reality. If you’re like me, and you believe that you create your own reality by choosing what deserves your attention, you can see that this concept makes an easy hop over to the world of photography. Photography, after all, is the creation of a specific reality. Although we use the term “photo-realistic,” photography can not capture reality. Even photojournalists will agree that a photo is wholly inadequate to capture the entirety of reality, simply because it is a fragment of time, constrained two-dimensionally within the bounds of its frame. As photographers, we must decide what fragment of time to capture, and how to represent it within that frame.

This is where gratitude comes in. Sometimes things just don’t work out how you might have expected. Perhaps it’s raining, or you forgot to bring the lens you need, or delays force you to shoot at a time of day that’s not ideal. There are a lot of things that can go “wrong.” Sure we could stew about these so-called problems and work ourselves into a negative, distracted fit. But, is that really going to help you get the shot? Believe me, it won’t! Instead, is it possible for you to find ways to use these mishaps to your advantage? Take a look around for things to be grateful about. Maybe the clouds are creating drama in the sky. Maybe the rain has forced people to bring out their colorful umbrellas. Maybe an “unattractive” foreground object can be used to add interest to your composition?

london - bridge to the pastParis - Sunshower helsinki - street music

Being grateful is not about being unrealistically optimistic. It is about being powerful enough to decide for yourself what the outcome will be, no matter what external circumstances arise.