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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What I saw that I liked:

I must really like something in these old pilings because I have 48 compositions of this group from this day — and then another 100 or so from other pilings on other days. Pilings, must be something that catches my eye.

What I don't like in the picture:

If it was only this picture, I'd think I need to try harder. In 50 years of photography I don't have a single image of pilings I like. Not one. Hmmm. . .

What I learned:

Is it worth keeping at it? Yes, at least I think so. Is it worth letting go of the obvious and trying something completely new? I sure hope so. Clearly, these aren't succeeding.

2nd Chances: What I might try next