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:

A dusty, old typewriter. Classic. Click!

What I don't like in the picture:

It's just an object, a thing, without context, without a story.

What I learned:

I make two habitual mistakes in photography over and over again: pictures of things, point and shoot without composing. Aaarrgh! When will I learn the lesson that I keep preaching — photography is about life.

I was chimping the above when I realized it was just another thing. Backing up a bit, I made the image to the left and suddenly, there was something in the image about people, and action, and what happens here, not just an image of a thing. Still not a "greatest hit," but something I think I will use somewhere in the right kind of project. At least, I hope so.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Now that I think of it, I have lots of photographs of old typewriters. Maybe there is a mini-project here. Time for some keyword searching in my Lightroom database.