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.

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

What fun! A curious cactus growing right out of the basalt cliff!

What I don't like in the picture:

Now that I see it as a photograph, it looks just like a short, stubby, prickly — please don't make me say it.

What I learned:

Sometimes we simple cannot control the associations that come to mind. And we certainly shouldn't ignore them. The unfortunate part of this is that they may occur to others, but not to us. Tricky business.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

A future "Erotic Nature" portfolio? I have several I could add to the mix like this one from — I'm not joking here — Hug Point State Park in Oregon. Then again, maybe I should just let it go.