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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Nature is mostly chaotic. I love the challenge of making aesthetic, visual sense out of the chaos. Pattern in the random, order in the anarchy.

What I don't like in the picture:

This one just doesn't work for me. The balance is off, perhaps just a bit too chaotic still. I don't know. But when I compare it to a more successful image like the one below, it seems visually obvious that the driftwood logs just don't succeed like the standing trees.

What I learned:

Finding just the right balance between chaos and order is a razor's edge. I want to shoot more of these kinds of images and explore this idea further.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

More time at the coast. This is a good thing.