Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Please tell me I'm not the only one who makes these idiotic images. "I'm out here and I'm supposed to be photographing: there's something that stands out from its background!" Click.

What I don't like in the picture:

Everything within the photograph, plus myself for wasting my life on these kinds of images.

What I learned:

When I "go out photographing," sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go of the idea that I'm out photographing. The pressure to be productive pushes me into a silly mindset that tempts me to just click that damned shutter. Better to relax, let go of photographing, and try to be centered and in the moment where it's easier to connect with life.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Extreme crop? High key? Delete to the trash bin?